Yanworth takes on new Cheltenham test in cross-country


JP McManus's nine-year-old has competed at Cheltenham on seven occasions with mixed fortunes

Thursday, December 12, 2019
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Yanworth, here rode by Barry Geraghty at Cheltenham in 2018


Yanworth is no stranger to Cheltenham but encounters a new test on his return to the home of steeplechasing when he faces 15 rivals around the unique cross-country course on Friday, writes Tony O'Hehir.

JP McManus's nine-year-old has competed at Cheltenham on seven occasions with mixed fortunes, including two Grade 2 wins and a disappointing showing when favourite for the 2017 Champion Hurdle.

He made a successful cross-country debut at Punchestown last month on his second start for Enda Bolger and is one of three runners for the trainer.

Yanworth has to concede weight to all including Neverushacon, Ballyboker Bridge and Hurricane Darwin, who filled the next three places at Punchestown last month.

Bolger, who is also represented by 2015 winner Josies Orders and Blue Templar, said: "We were pleased with Yanworth's win last time. He was dropping back in class compared to what he was used to. He's in good form and I'm looking forward to seeing how he handles the course.

"He faces a tough enough task with top weight and the most important thing is that he comes back safe and sound.

"It's been a bit of a rush with Josies Orders as he had a touch of colic in September which meant we were held up. He's in good order but will probably need the race.

"Blue Templar is an average horse compared to Yanworth and Josies Orders. He's got quite good cross-country form, but he wouldn't be in the same class as the other two. However, 10st 8lb is a nice weight and he might be good enough to run into a place."

He's in good form and I'm looking forward to seeing how he handles the course.

- Enda Bolger

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