Tag Archive for: Unibet International Hurdle

Dream result for Twiston-Davies

Guard Your Dreams picked up his biggest prize to date when taking the Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The five-year-old, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, battled on bravely up the hill to land the Grade Two contest in a driving finish.

Olly Murphy’s veteran Hunters Call appeared to have the race in safe keeping as he travelled smoothly into contention on the bridle.

He jumped the last in front but Guard Your Dreams had yet to be asked for a serious effort and engaged top gear on the run to the line.

Having shrugged off that danger, Guard Your Dreams (5-1) knuckled down stoutly for Sam Twiston-Davies to keep last year’s winner Song For Someone at bay by half-a-length.

The winner was introduced at 33-1 for the Unibet Champion Hurdle with Paddy Power and Betfair.

Twiston-Davies said: “We won this a few times with The New One and Ballyandy was narrowly beaten once or twice, giving weight to good horses. It’s very pleasing to be back here again.

“We’ve had two seconds in novice chases today and we’d have been happy with second here. According to the handicapper we couldn’t win, but we did.

“He’s just a nice, young horse who is improving. He toughed it out and galloped to the line.

“We’ll definitely look at the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock. I think the Champion Hurdle – the Irish have got a say in that, but we’ll think about it.”

Conditions key to International run for Hunters Call

Hunters Call could attempt to become the oldest horse to win the Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Trainer Olly Murphy would seriously consider running the 11-year-old in the Grade Two contest over an extended two miles if the race cut up or the ground was very soft.

Three 10-year-olds – Birds Nest (in 1980), Relkeel (1999) and My Tent Or Yours (2017) – have won the race since it was first run in 1963.

Hunters Call overcame a 249-day absence to win a handicap hurdle in good style over nearly two and a half miles at Bangor last month.

“We’ll just see what the weather does. Dropping back to two miles probably isn’t ideal, but if the ground was very soft I’d certainly think about running him,” said Murphy.

“He’s in good form. It’s not easy now with the mark he’s got aged 11, turning 12, but we’ll certainly look at it.

“I don’t know how many will run. If it cuts up, I’d definitely take my chance but at his age I didn’t think he’d be running in an International Hurdle.”

Last year’s winner Song For Someone, trained by Tom Symonds, features among nine entries as does David Pipe’s Adagio and Sceau Royal from Alan King’s stable.

There are two potential Irish raiders – Henry de Bromhead’s Ballyadam and the Paul Hennessy-trained Heaven Help Us – while Fusil Raffles was also confirmed for the Racing Post Gold Cup on the same card. Guard Your Dreams and Wilde About Oscar complete the list.

Trainer Olly Murphy
Trainer Olly Murphy (David Davies/PA)

Murphy could let Barony Legends line-up in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle over three miles after the five-year-old made a winning debut over the smaller obstacles at Lingfield six weeks ago.

“I don’t think he’d be badly wrong in the weights. I’ll have a look at it. He’s not a bad horse and he could well run,” said the Stratford handler.

“He’s a horse that will stay, so the trip will not inconvenience him.”

The 10 entries are headed by Charles Byrnes’ Irish raider Blazing Khal, the Paul Nicholls-trained Gelino Bello and Evan Williams’ Current Mood, who were first, second and third respectively over two miles and five furlongs at Cheltenham four weeks ago.

My Drogo could bid to make amends for a dramatic exit at the second-last fence on his fencing debut in the bearrene.com Novices’ Chase.

Dan Skelton’s Grade One-winning hurdler came down with his only opponent looking held, handing the race to Gin On Lime, who almost came down too.

Her trainer Henry de Bromhead is represented by Bob Olinger, who had no problem scoring on his chasing bow at Gowran last month.

Gordon Elliott’s Fancy Foundations is a second Irish-trained possible among seven entries.