Cheltenham Gold Cup target for Noble Yeats

The Cheltenham Festival is the target for Noble Yeats. (Pic, courtesy of Cheltenham Racecourse).

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NOBLE Yeats will target the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup and is unlikely to run in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase, connections revealed this week.

The Grand National winner impressed with the manner of his three-and-a-quarter-length victory in a Grade 2 Chase at Aintree last weekend where he raced off the pace and won going away.

The victory followed a decisive victory in a Listed Chase at Wexford in October and connections believe they have a legitimate Gold Cup contender in Noble Yeats who is best-priced at 12-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 17.

“It was absolutely fantastic,” said owner Robert Waley-Cohen after Noble Yeats’ win on Saturday.

“Coming over the second-last, I thought he was going to be OK, but a not-very-exciting third.

“When you pull him out, he does take off like that.”

“He has now won on heavy ground, on good to soft and you have got to remember it is only just over 12 months since he won his first steeplechase,” added the owner who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Long Run in 2011.

“He has had massive improvement over the summer, I think. He gained a lot in self-belief when winning races. It gives him confidence,” Waley-Cohen said, Racing TV report.

“I don’t think we will go to the King George. I think we’ll skip that and have one run on our way to the Gold Cup.

“I don’t think three miles on a dead-flat track is quite his scene. Aintree is flat, but Saturday’s victory was over three miles and one furlong and it was good to soft.

“Kempton is a faster-drying track and anyhow, the King George is not very far away. There is a lot of travelling and not a lot of time between races.

“No one makes very firm plans at this stage, but it will either be that new race at Lingfield over two miles and six furlongs (Grade 2 Fleur de Lys Chase), which will probably be the equivalent of three miles and one on another course. I suspect the ground will be soft, but he handles soft – it was heavy when he won the Listed race at Wexford.

“Or, I suppose, we will go for the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham (January 28). At the moment, I am leaning towards the Lingfield race.”

“He is entitled to take his chance in the Gold Cup,” added Waley-Cohen. “You need a ton of stamina for the Gold Cup and we know he’s got that, and he appears to have the pace to go with them as well.

“I have to say, I’m a bit astonished to find that he has turned into a Gold Cup horse. That wasn’t what I anticipated when I bought him.

“He has improved over the summer – he had a good, long summer at home with us – and to be fair, the trainer [Emmet Mullins] is brilliant!

“The horse is seven and he is entitled to improve. We will take one thing at a time, but the immediate target is the Gold Cup and I feel rather like Michael O’Leary, saying ‘it rather depends on what weight he gets for the National’.

“I rather suspect he might be going to run (at Aintree) whatever happens. If he is in good order, he’ll take his chance.”

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