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Friday, January 11, 2013



Meeting: Festival Trials Day

Date: Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gates Open: 11.00am

First Race: 12.40pm

Admission prices from £12. Go to www.cheltenham.co.uk for further information


Reve De Sivola is on course for a tilt at the Grade Two £60,000 Rewards4Racing Cleeve Hurdle (3.35pm) over three miles at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day, Saturday, January 26.


Trained by Nick Williams, Reve De Sivola was the impressive 14-length winner of the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on December 22. He previously finished second to Big Buck’s in the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on December 1, when having his first start for nearly a year.


The eight-year-old was a high-class novice hurdler during the 2009/10 season, winning a pair of Grade One events, but he failed to transfer that form to fences over the next two seasons which prompted connections to go back over the smaller obstacles.


Williams revealed today: “I have been happy with Reve De Sivola since his win at Ascot and we are looking at running him in the Rewards4Racing Cleeve Hurdle.


“I wasn’t really surprised by his performance at Ascot because he is a Grade One horse. We decided to switch back to hurdles from chasing because he wasn’t jumping his fences properly.


“Heavy ground isn’t crucial to him but it is kinder on his legs because he has  had time off with tendon issues. He will go on the quicker ground but we will be a bit more anxious.


“The Ladbrokes World Hurdle (at The Festival, March 14) is the big target for him. Reve De Sivola is rated 166 and Oscar Whisky is rated 1lb higher, and I have always thought Oscar Whisky would stay three miles so I don’t think there is a lot between them.


“I think the other horses in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle betting are speculative because they haven’t got top-class form at the trip and are suspect stayers. My horse is a genuine stayer and has a lot of class - I think he is the one to beat.


“I keep reminding people a day is a long a time in the life of a racehorse but two months is an eternity because they are so fragile. I wanted to run a horse in the Lanzarote Hurdle tomorrow but he picked up a little problem a few days ago.”


The Rewards4Racing Cleeve Hurdle serves as a trial for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at The Festival and the three-mile contest was won in great style by Big Buck’s 12 months ago. Paul Nicholls’ star went on to land an unprecedented fourth consecutive Ladbrokes World Hurdle and is unbeaten in 18 races over hurdles in Britain, but is currently on the sidelines because of injury. He also won the Rewards4Racing Cleeve Hurdle before his first Ladbrokes World Hurdle triumph in 2009.


The richest race on Festival Trials Day is the £100,000 Grade Two Argento Chase (2.25pm) run over just short of three and a quarter miles. The prestigious contest is a recognised trial for the £550,000 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, the highlight of The Festival.


The card also includes the Grade Two £30,000 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (12.40pm), the £30,000 Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (3.00pm) and the £50,000 Grade Three Murphy Group Handicap Chase (1.50pm). The action is completed by the £25,000 Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase (1.15pm) and the £25,000 Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle (4.10pm).


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