Overturn primed for Arkle prep
View from connections ahead of the feature races on a blockbuster eight-race card from Musselburgh on Sunday.
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Leading Arkle hope Overturn faces three opponents as he completes his racecourse preparations for next month's Cheltenham Festival in the Scottish Arkle Novices' Chase at Musselburgh on Sunday.
Trainer Donald McCain played a big part in persuading the racecourse to put on an extra two-mile novice chase and the track has been rewarded with last season's Champion Hurdle runner-up Overturn facing a fascinating duel with the Nicky Henderson-trained Tetlami.
Overturn could not have been more impressive in his two starts over fences at Sandown and Doncaster this season and is the general second favourite for the Arkle at Cheltenham behind Henderson's hugely-talented grey Simonsig.
"It's a grand little race, it's great they are putting it on and it will be nice to get it out of the way," said McCain.
"The ground will be as good as you will find anywhere at the moment and the horse is in good nick, so we'll see what happens. All going well, this will be his last run before Cheltenham."
Although an outsider for the Arkle at this stage, Tetlami is certainly an interesting challenger to Overturn this weekend.
A high-class novice hurdler last season, the seven-year-old won decisively on his fencing bow at Kempton last month and jockey Barry Geraghty feels there should be more to come.
"Obviously he's taking on Overturn, but I'm looking forward to riding him as I think he'll have improved a good bit for his run in Kempton the last day," said Geraghty.
"He's a good horse and was a classy old hurdler. We'll see how he goes on Sunday and take it from there."
The Scottish Arkle is the opening contest on a blockbuster eight-race card at the Edinburgh venue.
The Lucinda Russell-trained Tap Night is one of the more interesting runners as he aims to enhance his big reputation against three rivals in the Scottish Future Champions Novices' Chase.
Rated in the 140s over hurdles, the six-year-old was snapped up by leading owner JP McManus prior to his excellent chasing debut at Ayr in early January.
Russell said: "It's only a small field but it's still quite a tight little race I thought.
"Our horse is in good form and he's schooled a couple of times since he ran at Ayr. Everything has gone very well.
"It will be more valuable experience for him and we'll see how we get on.
"AP (McCoy) is in Ireland so Barry Geraghty rides, which is great. It's the first time Barry has ridden for me."
The John Smith's Scottish Champion Chase has attracted an interesting field of nine runners, including last year's third De Boitron.
His trainer, Ferdy Murphy, said: "He ran well to finish third in the race last year and I think he's a bit more forward this time around, so hopefully he'll run well.
"I'd prefer to be running him over a bit further and we had him in over two and a half miles at Wetherby, but the ground there is going to be testing and I'd rather run him over shorter on better ground.
"He's in very good form at home so hopefully he'll run a decent race."
John Quinn's Doncaster scorer Kashmir Peak renews rivalries with the Paul Nicholls-trained runner-up Sametegal in the John Smith's Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial, while David Pipe's Home Run goes for a sixth successive win in the Scottish County Hurdle.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained According To Trev drops in class and aims to get back on the winning trail in theAlbert Bartlett Scottish Trial.
A superb card is rounded off with an interesting CGA Scottish Foxhunter Chase, featuring Cloudy Lane and Gwanako, and a conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle.