Wednesday 23 March 2016

Cheltenham heroes head to Aintree

Empire Of Dirt might head to Aintree for the Topham over two miles and 5 furlongs.

In-form Irish challenger Empire Of Dirt features among sixty four entries for the Crabbie's Topham Chase (ladies Day, Friday, April 8).
The nine-years-old won at Leopardstown in January and defied the rise in the weights to win the Grade Three Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate by four lengths at Cheltenham last week.
Trainer Colm Murphy, who is primarily based in Co Wexford, noted: "Empire Of Dirt is first-class and seems to have come out of Cheltenham well.
"We can see how he's over the next 10 days or so however I'd think he'll go to Aintree.
"He's undoubtedly in the Topham and he will doubtless be entered in the 3m 1f handicap on Grand National Day (Saturday, April 9 - the Listed Betfred Handicap Chase) and perhaps even the Red Rum Handicap (Thursday, April 7) over two miles.
"I am not sure what we will do but he appears versatile enough.
"His jumping has been first rate the last couple of runs. He made a few novicey errors earlier however he seems to have ironed that out and was first rate in Cheltenham.'' 
Village Vic (Philip Hobbs), a two time winner over fences at Cheltenham this season, while Ayr scorer Rathlin (Micky Hammond), who finished third last year when trained by Mouse Morris, and Killer Crow who is an eye-catching entry for Irish trainer Gordon Elliott.
Gloucestershire-based trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is among the most a success handlers over the Grand National fences and has 5 horses engaged, incluuding Astracad.
Nicky Henderson, who has won the last three renewals of the Topham Chase, might have two contenders this time around in four-time Grade One victor Captain Conan and Cocktails At Dawn.
There are sixteen Irish entrants, including seven from strong of champion start trainer Willie Mullins.
They encompass the Susannah Ricci-owned pair of Ballycasey (additionally in the Crabbie's Grand national) and Blood Cotil, plus 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Sir Des Champs and Turban (each in the Crabbie's Grand countrywide).
The weights for the Crabbie's Topham Chase are published on Wednesday, March 30.
There are 39 entries for the Crabbie's Fox Hunters' Chase on Grand Opening Day, Thursday, April 7.
Enda Bolger followed up his Cheltenham success with a facile victory within the Crabbie's Foxhunter Chase three hundred and sixty-five days ago and is on course to repeat the double after a slim victory over Marito (Colin McBratney) in the St James's region Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham closing week.
2014 scorer Warne (Robert Waley-Cohen, ultimate 12 months's runner-up Pacha Du Polder (Paul Nicholls), who gave Victoria Pendleton a dream run when fifth in last week's St James's Foxhunter Chase, and Salsify (Rodger Sweeney, who won the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham in 2012 and 2013.
Grade One hurdler Marasonnien (Willie Mullins) is also engaged.