Verdana Blue Heads List Of 12 Hereford Winners Entered For Cheltenham Festival

Racing
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01 February 2019

The Champion Hurdle contender Verdana Blue heads a list of 12 Hereford winners entered for the most prestigious races at the Cheltenham Festival.  The seven-year-old mare won here on only her second start over hurdles.  Despite beating the reigning champion Buveur D’Air in Kempton’s Christmas Hurdle she is as long as 12/1 for the Festival’s opening day highlight, which is usually run on her preferred good going.

An even likelier prospect for Cheltenham glory is Paisley Park, currently the clear 5/2 favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle.  He has never stopped improving after his maiden hurdle win here in December 2017 and Festival success would be a fairy-tale story for his owner Andrew Gemmell, who has been blind since birth.


 

HorseRaceTrainerHereford win dates
Atlanta AblazeNational Hunt ChaseHenry Daly16-Oct-18
Brewin’UpastormSupreme Novices' HurdleOlly Murphy16-Jan-18
Brewin’UpastormBallymore Novices' HurdleOlly Murphy16-Jan-18
Drovers LaneNational Hunt ChaseRebecca Curtis16-Oct-18
Drovers LaneRSA Novices' ChaseRebecca Curtis16-Oct-18
Drovers LaneJLT Novices' ChaseRebecca Curtis16-Oct-18
Geordie BAlbert Bartlett Novices' HurdleVenetia Williams10-Apr-18
Giving GlancesTriumph HurdleAlan King19-Nov-18
Just Your TypeNational Hunt ChaseCharlie Longsdon10-Mar-18
Keeper HillStayers' HurdleWarren Greatrex04-Jan-17
Liberty BellaOLBG Mares' HurdleBrian Eckley02-Jan-19
Paisley ParkStayers' HurdleEmma Lavelle16-Dec-17
Star Of LankaBallymore Novices' HurdleWarren Greatrex28-Nov-18 & 15-Dec-18
Star Of LankaAlbert Bartlett Novices' HurdleWarren Greatrex28-Nov-18 & 15-Dec-18
Verdana BlueChampion HurdleNicky Henderson04-Jan-17
YalltariNational Hunt ChaseVenetia Williams16-Dec-17
YalltariRSA Novices' ChaseVenetia Williams16-Dec-17

 

The policy of trainers bringing their young horses to Hereford to get their careers underway has paid dividends in many cases, as they have progressed and won more races at the bigger courses.  

Other examples of this include Brewin’Upastorm, who took a bumper here a year ago and this season has become one of the leading two and a half mile novice hurdlers.  He had a slight lead when falling at the last at Cheltenham’s Ballymore Trial race at the end of January, and is third favourite for the Ballymore itself.

Our local trainer Venetia Williams has entered her novice chaser Yalltari in the RSA over three miles and the National Hunt Chase over four.  His win here in December 2017 was the first of three races last season in which he was unbeaten.  She also has last spring’s bumper winner Geordie B in the Albert Bartlett over three miles.

Star Of Lanka, twice a winner here in the latter part of 2018, has the option of going for either the Ballymore or the Albert Bartlett.

Liberty Bella won here in January for her Brecon-based owner-trainer-breeder Brian Eckley, who only has four or five horses in training.  She is entered for the Mares’ Hurdle, and though she’ll be up against the bluebloods from the top stables, as so often in racing, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

There's more racing coming up at Hereford ahead of this year's Cheltenham Festival with the Hereford FC Youth Academy Raceday on Monday 11 February, followed Ladies' Day on Saturday 9 March. Tickets and hospitality are available for both fixtures here.

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