Ch'Tibello team hoping to make Champion date despite wind operation

Tue 21 Feb 2017

Ch'Tibello's part-owner Ian Marmion admits it will be a close call whether his pride and joy makes it to the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

After finishing second to Yanworth at Wincanton on Saturday, Ch'Tibello underwent a small procedure on his wind.

"He's had his palate cauterized but he's all been done and he's fine," said Marmion.

"Obviously it will be very tight for Cheltenham now, it's a 50-50 call.

"It will be the first time he's ever been there and we just felt if there was an issue with his breathing, the hill would find him out and he wouldn't do himself justice.

"If he isn't right in time, then he'll go straight to Punchestown.

"He'd be a 25-1 chance in an open Champion Hurdle or third or fourth favourite probably at Punchestown.

"I felt he ran an almost identical race at Wincanton to that he did (in the Christmas Hurdle) at Kempton when you take the weight difference into account.

"Kempton was his first day against the big boys and he looked a bit shell-shocked, but on Saturday I thought he was going to win at the last.

"He won the Scottish Champion Hurdle off 134 and he's now 157 - he keeps on improving.

"In my head I always thought he'd go chasing next season, but he's won £93,000 this year hurdling. There's so much to win in races like the Fighting Fifth, Christmas Hurdle and the Price Rush at Haydock.

"We're only small owners, we have four horses and this season he has meant that we won't lose money."

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