Late call on Moon Racer target at Cheltenham

Last Updated March 02 2017, 13:43Racing

David Pipe seems likely to wait until the final declaration stage to confirm Moon Racer's target at the Cheltenham Festival.

The lightly-raced eight-year-old hasn't been sighted since making it two from two over obstacles at the Open meeting at Cheltenham in November but is reported to be in good form ahead of a return to the Festival, where he took top honours in the 2015 Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

However, Pipe is still yet to decide whether the novice will run in the opening Sky Bet Supreme, or take on more experienced rivals in the Stan James Champion Hurdle on the same Tuesday card on March 14.

Pipe said: "Moon Racer is quite a deceiving horse at home, he covers a lot of ground and does it all very easy.

"He's proved on the track that he's a very good horse and we thought at the time that it was worth entering him in the Champion Hurdle. He'll be left in that and the Sky Bet Supreme at the five-day stage and we'll make a decision after that.

"Obviously it's a bit different nowadays with the supplementary stage in the Champion so we'll sit down with the owners and Tom Scu (-damore) and hopefully make the right decision.

"It's an open Champion Hurdle this year but it also looks an open Supreme as well so both are looking, on paper, quite open but I'm sure it'll seem different after the races have been run.

"Ballyandy's a very good horse and it might be third time lucky for them at Cheltenham but I hope not! It was nice to see the form franked (in the Betfair Hurdle) but my job is to get Moon Racer there in as good form as possible and he's in good shape.

"He had a mid-season break and it took us a little bit longer to get him going again so we didn't have chance to get another run into him. He's experienced enough, has had two hurdle races including one round Cheltenham so we're looking forward to it."

Nigel Twiston-Davies is all but certain last year's Champion Bumper winner Ballyandy will take the Supreme route at the Festival and couldn't hide his excitement at the prospect of potentially taking on Moon Racer again in the Festival curtain-raiser.

The trainer said: "We've just about totally decided we'll go for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

"He cantered to the last in the Betfair and quickened away nicely. We've always thought an awful lot of him and we can't understand why he didn't do better in his first three races but he managed to handicap himself nicely and let's go on to better things now.

"We checked his wind, checked everything and there was nothing amiss; maybe with time, he's just got better and better.

"He's got plenty of speed, he won there this time last year and we're really looking forward to it and hopefully we can take our revenge on Moon Racer."

Sky Bet are offering non-runner, no bet on the Supreme and have also launched their money back special which sees stakes refunded as a free bet if punters back a loser in the opening race on all four days of the Festival. Check out the latest Supreme odds right here.

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