Harry Whittington is hoping that Rouge Vif will record help him record back-to-back victories in the Bentley Flying Spur Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
As a novice, during last season, the six-year-old enjoyed big-race success in the Kingmaker at Warwick. He ended up second runners up in the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival on his most recent outing.
While noting that Rouge Vif has done very well during the summer, Whittington said the six-year-old stable was entitled to improve physically. Having experienced some improvement physically, the trainer said he is in fantastic shape.
This means that the 6-year-old heads into the race in great form, having been rated 156. He added that the horse would need an outstanding performance to win with his weight, and there are one or two unexposed he will be competing against.
As he looks forward to running him, he said he couldn’t be in a better form than he has been. Rouge Vif became one of the 13 horses qualified for the competition, which has a prize of £48,000.
One of the competing horses that will be competing in Cheltenham, On The Slopes, recorded successive wins at Kempton last season. Therefore, the trainer Chris Gordon is confident that he could be in the mix on his return to action in the Cotswolds, ground permitting.
Gordon also revealed that he would walk the track this morning to ensure the ground is on the easy side of good. He added that if it’s otherwise, he might withdraw the horse and wait for the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
While stating that the horse, who looks like a three-mile chaser, feels at home, the trainer expressed surprised that he had run over two miles, which he said made him a very different horse on the racetrack to what he is at home.
According to him, once he gets to the racecourse, he spins round in a phone box and puts on a good show as if he had put on a superhorse outfit.
Neil Mulholland’s Scardura, Hatcher, and Azzuri and the Gary Moore-trained Beat The Judge are also other contenders that will be competing for the top prize.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed