Cheltenham Festival: Quotes from connections for Thursday including Paisley Park in Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle

Bryony Frost celebrates her win on Frodon

Get all the key quotes from connections ahead of Thursday's Cheltenham Festival races, including the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle and Ryanair Chase.

Cheltenham Festival - Thursday March 12

  • 1.30 MARSH Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 2m 3f 166y £150,000
  • 2.10 Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y £100,000
  • 2.50 Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 127y £350,000
  • 3.30 Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y £325,000
  • 4.10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) 2m 4f 166y £110,000
  • 4.50 Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 179y £90,000
  • 5.30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase 3m 2f £70,000
All the details ahead of the 2020 Festival


1.30 MARSH Novices' Chase (Grade 1)

Willie Mullins - Faugheen, Melon, Bapaume

"Faugheen has been in great form since Christmas, doing everything right. He has earned his ticket back to the Festival winning two Grade One races along the way in his last two runs.

"He has been training well and has done everything we have asked of him at home, so we have declared him and hopefully he will run well again.

"Melon's shown us that he needs two and a half miles. He has good Festival form and if he has a clear round of jumping, I think he'll go close."

Olly Murphy - Itchy Feet

"I have been delighted with Itchy Feet's preparation. The ground won't be a problem for him if it comes up soft and I think he has been slightly overlooked after his Sandown win. I am not really sure why as the manner of his win was impressive; despite making a mistake at the second-last, he ran on strongly.

"It is very exciting to have my first Grade One winner being a live player for a Grade One at the Festival. I really think this race will suit and, while there are some interesting horses in there, I wouldn't swap our lad."

Joe Tizzard - Reserve Tank

"He is just a difficult horse through the winter and he wants spring ground. This run might come soon enough for him and we would have loved to have got a prep run into him, but the ground was wrong. He is a dual Grade One winner at Aintree and Punchestown and he is a very good horse on his day."

Entries: Bapaume, Faugheen, Itchy Feet, Melon, Midnight Shadow, Mister Fisher, Poker Play, Reserve Tank, Samcro, Tornado Flyer, Saint Sonnet, Annie Mc.

2.10 Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3)

Entries: Sire du Berlais, Unowhatimeanharry, The Storyteller, Jatilwuh, Rocket Lad, A Great View, Stoney Mountain, Third Wind, Kilbricken Storm, Dingo Dollar, Skandiburg, Fred The Foot, Welsh Saint, Dream Berry, Burrows Park, Relegate, Tout Est Permis, Rapper, Copper Gone West, Royal Thief, Guitar Pete, Sunset Showdown, Kansas City Chief, Doubly Clever. (RES 1: Anytime Will Do, RES 2: Mighty Thunder)

2.50 Ryanair Chase (Grade 1)

Bryony Frost (jockey) - Frodon

"He A1, he's squealing and he's boisterous. He's getting extremely cocky - everything you want out of a horse that's going to go to one of the biggest tests in the racing calendar.

"Cheltenham is the heartbeat of National Hunt racing, it's where the best of the best go and only the bravest come out on top. Opinions are the race is harder than last year, but with Cheltenham Festival races, I don't think any of them are a gift.

"You have to be beyond brave and everything has to go right, that's the Festival. Sometimes in other races you could miss one, or slightly get hampered somewhere, and you could maybe come back. But at Cheltenham you can't make a mistake, you can't get held up anywhere or it's game over.

"We're slightly transparent in our tactics, we've got a big target on our backs. They all know what we're going to do so we've got to be switched on and try to keep 10 steps ahead to make it as easy as possible. We need a bit of luck, we need a lot of confidence, we need some bravery and a lot of people shouting us home. Can we do it again? We've got to believe we can.

"He's in great order, the world is wishing again and I definitely am too. At Kempton it was lovely to have him back, obviously after we had the ulcers at the beginning of the season. What a few people are saying now is that he's the horse he was last year. If there's one thing I know going into Thursday, it's that not one of our camp, nor me, will be second-guessing him."

Henry De Bromhead - A Plus Tard

"He's been good. I ran him over two miles because I've always had this thing that he's better left-handed than right and there weren't many options over two and a half. He couldn't have done it any better than he did at Christmas. We were planning to go again at the Dublin Racing Festival, but I was just worried the ground wasn't soft enough - he just needed something to slow then down a little bit."

Venetia Williams - Aso

"He hasn't run since the King George, but there are so few races in between and we didn't want to go for the Ascot Chase as he didn't run well in that last year, so he has been ticking over at home. He will have blinkers on for the first time, just to try to cut out the distractions - which there are plenty of at the Festival.

"He is 10 years old now and we can't expect him to be at his best for many more years, but hopefully he will be competitive as he usually runs well round Cheltenham."

Carl Hinchy (part-owner) - Riders Onthe Storm

"The horse is in brilliant form and is very well. I'm not having all this stuff about him having a hard race at Ascot - that is absolute nonsense. Whether he is good enough, that is another matter.

"We've won our Grade One already and he is three out of three for us. We are just going to really enjoy it. When a horse is on an upward curve, you don't know when they will stop."

Entries: A Plus Tard, Aso, Des Genievres, Frodon, Min, Riders Onthe Storm, Saint Calvados, Shattered Love.

3.30 Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1)

Emma Lavelle - Paisley Park

"Everything is fine with Paisley. We have had a good preparation with him really. It was a great relief to see him win at Newbury and then Ascot being off worked out well in the end.

"His Cheltenham performance in the Cleeve was excellent. He essentially handled a race where the others tried to beat him tactically. He is a huge talent and it is exciting to have a horse attempting to defend his crown in one of the championship races."

Willie Mullins - Penhill, Bacardys

"I think Penhill needed the run the last day and that should have put him right for Cheltenham. This year I've managed to get runs into him. He's taking a lot more training and holding onto his condition, which is a good thing as he's strong. He's a horse that takes a lot of work and I think there's improvement in him."

"I ran Bacardys back too quick at Christmas. I probably shouldn't have run in the Hatton's Grace, I probably should have gone from Navan to Leopardstown. He likes Cheltenham and jumps reasonably well, so he has each-way potential."

Tom George - Summerville Boy

"He has been improving all season since going back over hurdles and he is as good as we can have him. He has come on a lot and really found his feet since his last run. He is one of the most likely to put it up to Paisley Park. He has only had the one run over three miles and he can only improve on what he has done so far.

"That was a good stepping stone and there should be further improvement. We can change a few things round to give Paisley Park our best shot. We all thought he would stay, but you never know until you see it. What is good about him is he will get the trip, but as we have seen, he has the class to win a race like the Supreme which bodes well for him."

Gordon Elliott - Apple's Jade

"It is not my decision, but I would imagine she will be covered this year. She has won 11 Grade Ones and does not owe anything to anybody. She has been the horse of a lifetime. I have said all year, though, that I don't think she has been working as well as she did in the past."

Joe Tizzard - West Approach

"He will be ridden to get placed in it. He loves it around Cheltenham and he has some of his best form around there. He got within two lengths of Paisley Park last year in the Long Walk. He deserves to take his chance, but we will be looking for places at best."

Entries: Ask Dillon, Bacardys, City Island, Donna's Diamond, Emitom, L'Ami Serge, Lisnagar Oscar, Paisley Park, Penhill, Ronald Pump, Summerville Boy, The Jam Man, Tobefair, West Approach, Apple's Jade.

4.10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Handicap Chase)

Entries: Snow Falcon, Mister Whitaker, Death Duty, Siruh Du Lac, Robin Des Foret, Simply The Betts, Spiritofthegames, Happy Diva, La Bague Au Roi, Clondaw Castle, Kauto Riko, Vision Des Flos, Ben Dundee, Oldgrangewood, Imperial Presence, Deyrann De Carjac, Louis' Vac Pouch, Livelovelaugh, Charmant, Highway One O One, Blazer, Springtown Lake, Royal Village, Not Another Muddle (RES 1: The Bay Birch, RES 2: Garde La Victoire).

4.50 Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2)

Entries: Ard Abhainn, Emmas Joy, Floressa, Minella Melody, Colreevy, Concertista, Dolcita, Fort Worth Texas, Full Of Surprises, Getaway Totherock, La Feline, Mount Ida, Rayna's World, Rhythm Divine, Rosie And Millie, Timetochill, Vienna Court, Whitehotchillifili, Yukon Lil, Midnights' Gift, Anna Bunina, Red Archangel.

5.30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase

Entries: Le Musee, Le Breuil, Cabaret Queen, The Young Master, Flying Angel, Deisa Aba, Fitzhenry, Go Another One, The Kings Writ, Ami Desbois, Milan Native, Bob Mahler, Militarian, Ardlethen, Plan of Attack, Fingerontheswitch, Like The Sound, Kilfilum Cross, Champagne Platinum, Thomas Patrick, Coup de Pinceau, Cloth Cap, Just A Sting, One Style (RES 1: Another Venture, RES 2: Just Your Type).


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