Wednesday March 15
Uxizandre was our last Cheltenham Festival winner in the Ryanair Chase two years ago – one we will never forget as it was AP McCoy’s final victory at jump racing’s most prestigious meeting – and we look to the same horse to produce a bit of that old magic when he goes for a repeat in the Grade 1 there tomorrow.
Having spent last season convalescing from injury at owner JP McManus’s Martinstown Stud in Ireland, Uxizandre returned to Barbury towards the end of 2016, and Alan expressed himself delighted with the horse’s comeback run at Cheltenham in January.
He said:”I was really pleased how well Uxizandre finished off his race that day and he has enjoyed a nice break since and been brought along steadily. All his old enthusiasm and ability still seems to be there and seven weeks should be long enough to take the ‘bounce’ factor out of the equation.
“Mark Walsh schooled him over fences last week and both he and I were very happy. He jumps so well and loves to get into a nice rhythm, and, though we didn’t have the cheekpieces on for his prep-race as he was very fresh, the headgear is back now just to sharpen him up.
“We have The Tourard Man returning for the Pertemps Final and the more the ground continues to dry up the better his chance. He finished third in this race a couple of years ago, and, though at the age of 11 he might not be quite as good, he is fresh and well after four months off and Kevin Dowling’s 10lb claim also helps.
“The owners of Dusky Legend sponsor the Trull House Stud Mares Novices’ Hurdle, and she ran a blinder for them in the race 12 months ago, finishing second to the classy Limini. She has had a similar preparation to last year, coming here off a two-month break, having been put in her place by an exceptional mare in La Bague Au Roi at Newbury, and the strong pace and drying ground will suit her.”