Delta Work tops 20 in the running for Glenfarclas gold

Defending champion Delta Work heads 20 entries for the Glenfarclas Chase over the cross country course at the Cheltenham Festival.

The 10-year-old gave Gordon Elliott his fourth win in the race 12 months ago when playing the role of pantomime villain and spoiling the retirement party of five-time Festival winner Tiger Roll.

He went on to finish second in the Grand National and connections are treading the same path once again with the son of Network, who is the general even-money favourite for his return to Prestbury Park.

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“Two weeks is a long time in racing, but hopefully he gets there in piece,” said Eddie O’Leary, racing manager for owners Gigginstown House Stud.

“The plan is to go there then Aintree. He’s all grand this year and if the next two weeks go well, then all systems are go.

“Last year was brilliant and just goes to show racing is fair and above board. We would have all loved Tiger to have won, but Delta had to work too.

“He’s a brilliant horse and he seems to enjoy this test, especially the Cheltenham cross country, and it’s fantastic to have those races available to put a smile on these older horses’ faces.”

Gordon Elliott Stable Visit – Longwood
Gordon Elliott with Delta Work at his yard at Longwood in County Meath, Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)

Delta Work is joined in the list of potential starters by stablemate and last year’s Gold Cup fourth Galvin, while Snow Leopardess and Trials Day one-two Back On The Lash and Deise Aba are other names of note.

However, there will be no French challenge this year with the connections of Hip Hop Conti and Galcoflaur both electing to stay at home.

Willie Mullins boasts 14 of the 44 entries for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, although there is no place for his recent Punchestown scorer Ballyburn – who was as short as 7-1 in places for the closing race on day two of the Festival.

The Closutton battalion is led by ante-post favourite It’s For Me, while the hand of owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede is bolstered by stablemate and Leopardstown scorer Fun Fun Fun, with the mare also high up in the betting.

The JP McManus-owned Fact To File went close when second in a bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival and is another possible for the Mullins teamsheet, although the fly in the ointment could well be the unbeaten A Dream To Share, who quickened the best part of three lengths clear of Fact To File to claim Grade Two honours at Leopardstown.

The John Kiely-trained five-year-old was quickly snapped up by McManus in the aftermath of that contest and his racing manager Frank Berry is hopeful the green and gold will have strong representation at Cheltenham.

He said: “They are both in good form at the minute and their trainers are very happy with them. The intention is they will both run.

“Time will tell how the Leopardstown race works out, but it looked a competitive race on the day and both horses performed well with the winner quickening up nicely. Hopefully if they both get a clear run, they will both turn up there (Cheltenham).”

Billaway made it third time lucky in the St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase when edging out Winged Leader 12 months ago and both feature amongst the 35 entries for the amateur jockeys’ contest.

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