Racing UK

Cheltenham unlikely as Dynamite team target Melbourne Cup again

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Max Dynamite

Owner Rich Ricci admits Max Dynamite is unlikely to make next month's Cheltenham Festival, with a crack at the Melbourne Cup in November the ultimate aim this year.

The seven-year-old was beaten just half a length in the Flemington Group One back in 2015, but two outings on the Flat last year yielded little joy and he has been off the track since finishing down the field in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last June.

Max Dynamite is on offer at around the 20-1 mark for the County Hurdle at Cheltenham, but Ricci believes the Punchestown Festival at the end of April is a more likely option before he builds towards another Australian trip.

Ricci told his RTE blog: "I'm often asked about him and I'm happy to report that he's fine, back in training and riding out.

"It's not certain that he won't get to Cheltenham but it's probably a bit unlikely, and he should be ready for Punchestown on the way towards getting ready for a Flat campaign.

"The Melbourne Cup, in which he finished second two years ago, is the ultimate aim. Getting him back to Flemington Park this winter would be an extraordinary thrill."

One horse Ricci does expect to be in the mix at Cheltenham is Let's Dance, winner of a Grade Two event at Leopardstown at the end of January.

He said: "When Let's Dance won the Grade Two novice hurdle at Leopardstown last month, it opened up the possibility of her triggering a 50,000 euros bonus offered by the race sponsors should she go on to win at Cheltenham.

"I think it's brilliant, and well done to Nathaniel Lacy and Partners Solicitors. It's unusual because the 50,000 euros goes to the stable staff should Let's Dance do the business next month, so let's hope for Nathaniel Lacy and the stable staff that she can win one.

"She's in good form and is rated 147 now, so with a 7lb allowance in any of those open races like the Neptune or the Albert Bartlett, it would make her very competitive.

"The New Course at Cheltenham, on which the racing on the Thursday and Friday of the Festival takes place, would suit her and so she has plenty of options.

"I would say at this stage the Dawn Run mares novice race on the Thursday of the Festival looks the most likely race for her in my view."

Coral make Let's Dance a best-priced 5-1 for the Dawn Run.

Ricci also remains hopeful that Bapaume is a live Triumph Hurdle contender despite his defeat at the hands of Mega Fortune in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.

"The winner, Mega Fortune, was a different horse altogether in cheekpieces on Sunday, and was too good for Bapaume," Riccisaid.

"But we lost nothing in defeat and the New Course for the Triumph Hurdle should really suit our fella because he’s a strong galloper. We go there with a good chance."

Bapaume is available at 12-1 for the Triumph.

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