Five to take out of the Festival - Keep on right side of Flying Tiger
20 March 2017
Peter Naughton tipped 33-1 Fred Winter winner Flying Tiger last week and has five horses to take out of the Cheltenham Festival. For more of his notebook horses go to >>>
Flying Tiger produced enormous profits for the Nagme account when winning the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at 33-1 as one of only three selections last week.
Nick Williams has trained some quality horses over the years, including the high-class Diamond Harry, but Flying Tiger could be his best yet. Refusing to settle early, the unexposed French import benefited from the strong gallop and made headway from rear two-out. He was produced with a strong run approaching the last and Richard Johnson’s mount kept on well to beat favourite Divin Bere a neck. This exciting four-year-old has any amount of potential and can win similarly competitive handicaps before reverting to Graded company.
Starchitect has the look of a horse ready to win. He was ridden in rear in the 2m5f Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate and made good headway without ever landing a blow on the leaders. Tom Scudamore gave the gelding a fine ride as he coaxed his inexperienced mount past beaten horses to finish fifth of the 24 runners and he can build on this performance. Still only six, the son of Sea The Stars won a novice event at Ayr on his previous start and a switch back to that company could reap dividends. Alternatively, he will be well handicapped for some time yet.
Jer's Girl was strongly fancied against three strong rivals in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle. Trainer Gavin Cromwell insisted beforehand she was 100 percent ready for this assignment with everything in her favour. He said: "She wasn't firing in the winter but our patience has paid off and she's thriving now. She is right there with a major form chance on her best performances, so I expect a very big run."
Facing stiff opposition from Limini, Apple's Jade and Vroum Vroum Mag, the mare was held up in mid-division and was still going well when she fell three out. There could be compensation at other festivals on spring ground.
Put a line through Beware The Bear's defeat in the National Hunt Chase. The Nagme entry is considered a strong stayer by connections and arrived at Cheltenham fit on his first start since mid-December. That race proved a frustrating contest for his supporters following a bad early error when jockey Sam Waley-Cohen briefly lost both irons at the fifth. Having lost his place, the gelding was racing towards the rear, so did well to finish seventh, albeit well beaten. He is better than this and deserves more chances.
Modus raced wider than any contender in the Coral Cup but was still in contention heading to the last. The tough seven-year-old travelled in midfield and held every chance two out but could not quicken after the last. He lost out on a place in the last 50 yards but, would have gone closer had he taken a shorter route.
The handicapper had raised him 11lb for winning the competitive Lanzarote Hurdle in January and he came into his Cheltenham engagement fresh after that January success. Paul Nicholls insisted Modus had claims here, despite the rise in the weights, but Aintree could prove more suitable.