Paul Webber is preparing the queen of Cropredy Lawn, Indefatigable, for a potential crack at the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival having completed her on-course preparation for Prestbury Park at Warwick last weekend.
The apple of Webber’s eye won the Warwick Listed contest en route to finishing fourth in the Mares’ Hurdle at last year’s Festival, but had to settle for the silver medal this time around behind Nicky Henderson’s Marie’s Rock.
However, the Banbury-based handler was not put off by her effort and believes the outing will put the former Martin Pipe winner spot on for her date with the Festival.
He said: “It was a bit sharp for her at Warwick the other day. We knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of pace and we were hoping that Whitehotchillifili would go a bit quicker. Obviously, Nicky’s horse has plenty of speed and just went past her, but that’s racing.
“It was the perfect springboard for what lies ahead and she’s never let us down any time she’s gone to Cheltenham”
Indefatigable needed every yard of the trip when recording a dramatic victory in the concluding race of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival and her trainer is wary the tighter speed test of the old course might not be suited to his star mare, who scooped Grade Two honours when picking up the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby earlier in the season.
Webber continued: “On the Tuesday over two and a half miles on the sharper old course, it might just be a bit too sharp for her, but I’m sure we’ll leave her in both races and see what both are looking like closer to the time.
“The Mares’ Hurdle might not be as hot as in years gone by this time around, but the new course is where her real good form is, so it could be a difficult decision.”
It is a long time since Time For Rupert and Cantlow graced the Cropredy Lawn gallops and Indefatigable came to Webber’s Banbury barracks at just the right time. She rules the roost at Webber’s and he is full of praise for his stable star.
“You always know she’s going to do her best, she’s aggressive, she’s competitive and we are extremely lucky to have her,” said Webber.
He also outlined plans for further in the spring where he could look to add to his two Royal Ascot winners.
He said: “I’m not sure Aintree suits her, so I’d be tempted to have a look at Punchestown and then if we fancy a run on the Flat, I’d like to aim her at the Ascot Stakes or the Queen Alexandra on summer ground because summer ground is what she likes.
“We’ve had two Royal Ascot winners in the past and we need a third one!”