Cheltenham regular The Giant Bolster back again on Festival Trials Day

Thursday, January 28, 2016 – The Giant Bolster will bid for his fourth victory on Festival Trials Day and his second in the feature £100,000 Grade Two BetBright Trial Chase (1.50pm, 11 entries) at Cheltenham on Saturday, January 30.

Trained by David Bridgwater, the popular 11-year-old captured the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase (1.15pm, 35 entries) in 2011 and 12 months later slammed his rivals by 17 lengths in the Freebets.com Trophy Chase (2.25pm, 23 entries), both over just short of two miles and five furlongs. He was also runner-up in the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup, fourth in the 2013 renewal and third in 2014.

He missed Festival Trials Day in 2013, but returned the following year to record his biggest victory to date when beating Rocky Creek (Paul Nicholls) by seven lengths in the BetBright Trial Chase over an extended three miles and a furlong. The winning run was halted in the same contest last year when he came home fourth behind Many Clouds (Oliver Sherwood) and Smad Place (Alan King), who are both set to re-oppose.

Bridgwater said: “The Giant Bolster has a couple of entries at Cheltenham and I’d imagine he will go in the BetBright Trial Chase.

“He has been good since Ascot, but some of my horses have been wrong and I have not been running many. I just hope he is OK.

“He has got to show a bit this weekend as that will tell us where to go from here. I think we will probably reapply some headgear but I haven’t decided which yet.

“He is in the same sort of shape as he has been the last three years for Festival Trials Day, although he is a lot older and wiser now. These old horses don’t always want to go and do it – if he does, he will run well and if he doesn’t, he won’t. It is as simple as that really.”

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Djakadam (Willie Mullins) headlines the 11 entries for the BetBright Trial Chase. Other notable contenders include progressive northern raider Wakanda (Sue Smith) and the Rebecca Curtis-trained pair of O’Faolains Boy and Irish Cavalier, both winners at The Festival.

Thistlecrack (Colin Tizzard) bids to cement his position at the top of the World Hurdle market in the £60,000 Grade Two galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle (3.35pm, 10 entries) over three miles. Impressive Grade Two Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle scorer Camping Ground (Robert Walford) and classy chaser Ptit Zig (Paul Nicholls) are also among those engaged.

Exciting novices Shantou Village (Neil Mulholland) and Yanworth (Alan King) are on course for the £30,000 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs. There are 18 entries in total, with other eye-catchers including Chef D’Ouevre (Warren Greatrex), a facile winner in testing ground at Lingfield Park last time out, and Lanzarote Hurdle scorer Yala Enki (Venetia Williams).

Racing gets underway 12.40pm with £30,000 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (eight entries) over an extended two miles. Unbeaten Grade Two scorers Who Dares Wins (Alan King) and Wolf Of Windlesham (Stuart Edmunds) could clash with Irish raider Allblak Des Places (Willie Mullins) and impressive Newbury victor Clan Des Obeaux (Paul Nicholls).

Concluding the action is the £25,000 Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle (4.10pm, 28 entries), which is run over the same course and distance as the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle at The Festival. The Paul Nicholls-trained Lac Fontana did the double in 2014.

The racing on Festival Trials Day is the last at Cheltenham before The Festival which takes place over four days, Tuesday, March 15 to Friday, March 18.

Going

The going at Cheltenham remains Soft. Conditions are forecast to remain largely dry up until Friday night into Saturday, when eight to 12 millimetres of rain is predicted. The forecast for Saturday is for dry weather from early morning and throughout the day.

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