George hoping Mail delivers
Crack French steeplechaser Mail de Bievre has joined Tom George's yard and his trainer is looking forward to unleashing his new recruit on a racecourse soon.
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The eight-year-old initially started his career with Alan King, winning a bumper first time out, before crossing the Channel to begin a new life in France under the guidance of Jean Bertran de Balanda.
He won four races in his native country during the 2009/10 season and has now joined George with a view to a potential tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
"He is particularly exciting and has amassed over £300,000 in prize money during his career in France. His latest win in April 2010 had a first prize in excess of £95,000 and had he not been injured, would almost certainly have been odds-on for the Grand Steeplechase de Paris," his new trainer told the Racing Post Weekender.
"He has come to us from connections we have done well for over the years. He hasn't run for over a year, but he has been here for a while now and I am very pleased with his progress. He arrived in excellent condition having been in pre-training with Chloe Roddick.
"The plan is to start him off next month at Newbury in the Denman Chase. He has schooled well at home and impressed Paddy, and to be honest he ticks all the boxes.
"Obviously we are hoping he comes through the Newbury run well as the Gold Cup would be a cracking target for him. He has had one day away from home and I am hoping to get him out again for a racecourse gallop shortly.
"At one stage he had a rating of 172, but not having run for a while, he is down to 159, which looks great, although handicaps are not on his agenda.
"We have given him plenty of schooling over British fences, as they are stiffer than their French equivalent, and he jumps like a British chaser. He doesn't seem a particularly stuffy horse so I would be looking for a big run at Newbury and if all went well, the Gold Cup would be the target."