Tag Archive for: Alan Swinbank Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race

Rasen runner Queens Gamble aiming to book Festival ticket

Oliver Sherwood hopes it will be third time lucky as leading Champion Bumper hope Queens Gamble continues her education at Market Rasen on Tuesday.

The five-year-old, who has already won both her races in impressive style at Cheltenham, will look to return to the Prestbury Park track on March 15 as the top British challenger in the extended two-mile contest.

With Market Rasen forced to abandon her Festival prep-race target twice because of frost, Sherwood is hoping the Listed Alan Swinbank Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race will finally be staged.

“Third time lucky – hopefully it is going to be on,” said Sherwood. “Market Rasen have been superb in the build-up, keeping in touch with us and obviously they want us there.”

Queens Gamble opened her account last April, beating the well-regarded Mullenbeg by 10 lengths in a mares’ bumper at Cheltenham before scorching to an eight-length success over Bonttay and 14 other rivals in Listed event back at that track in November.

Sherwood is hoping to learn more about her when she faces 11 rivals this time.

“I’m very happy with her – she hasn’t missed a beat,” he added. “With any horse, any trainer will tell you that when you have abandonments and rescheduled races, you have to build her up and drop her back down and then build her up again.

“With certain horses it is difficult, but with her it hasn’t been that difficult, other than trying to get her to the boil two or three times.

“She is a very easy horse to train and doesn’t take a lot of work, so I’m very happy with her build-up. The ground will be ideal, so it is all positives at the moment.”

On a right-handed track, which is much sharper than she has faced at Prestbury Park, Queens Gamble will also concede 4lb to a field that includes five previous bumper winners.

Sherwood said: “There are slightly less runners than there were originally, but I respect every horse.

“I’ve been at it long enough to know nothing is a gimme in this game and obviously there are plenty of horses in there with really good chances. She has a got a little penalty, which is understandable.

Oliver Sherwood heads to Market Rasen on Tuesda
Oliver Sherwood heads to Market Rasen on Tuesday (Simon Cooper/PA)

“But she is a big mare and the most intriguing thing for me is that it is a different track and a different way round, different course and much sharper than Cheltenham.

“It wouldn’t possibly play to her strengths. It is a long journey up from Lambourn and she has had only two races, so it is all part of her education and I’m looking forward to seeing that.

“We said we would stick to the original plan that if she went and won at Cheltenham in November, we’d stay to bumpers this year. She has only just turned five, so I’m really looking forward to next season and going hurdling with her.”

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