Cheltenham-bound Peace And Co swerves Imperial Cup at Sandown

Mon 6 Mar 2017

Peace And Co has not been entered for Saturday's Matchbook Imperial Cup at Sandown and will head straight for the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Nicky Henderson has been working his magic at home, attempting to rekindle the fire which saw the six-year-old win the 2015 Triumph Hurdle.

Peace And Co has not been seen since he was pulled up in the Champion Hurdle last year,and had been earmarked to return in the Imperial Cup.

But thepossibility of very testing ground at the Esher circuit means he will now chart a direct route towards the Festival next week.

Henderson and owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede will instead be represented by Fixe Le Cap, who was eighth in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham last March when last seen on a racecourse.

"The plan with Peace And Co is to go straight for the County Hurdle," said Anthony Bromley, racing manager to the owners.

"Fixe Le Kap will be his replacement as he needs soft ground to be seen at his best.

"In the end, we've decided we'd wait for the better ground for Peace And Co so he'll wait for Cheltenham. It was purely down to the ground.

"Fixe Le Kap is in the Martin Pipe and the Coral Cup at Cheltenham as he really needs further than two miles. He might need the run on Saturday.

"We just thought Sandown would suit him more. He's next year's chaser."

Harry Fry's Air Horse One could go chasing a four-timer, while the Tony Martin-trained duo of Golden Spear and Tudor City are the only Irish possibles.

William H Bonney, Vosne Romanee, Intense Tango and Bigmartre are also among the 24 entries for the Grade Three over two miles.

A bonus of £50,000 will be given to any horse who can win on Saturday and then follow up at Cheltenham.

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