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Josies Orders - looks at the first with Sire Collonges

Runners will be tackling the unique obstacles at Cheltenham on Friday

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

Bolger sends pair in
pursuit of cross-country

RACING fans were denied a first glimpse of the spectacle that is the cross-country race at Cheltenham's Open meeting last month, with unseasonably fast ground forcing officials to postpone the race until Festival Trials day in January.

But the warriors of the banks will belatedly turn out on on Friday afternoon for what promises to be an informative guide to the festival's cross-country chase.


With the ground still too fast for stable star Josies Orders, legendary banks handler Enda Bolger relies on recent Punchestown winner Cantlow and the less experienced Auvergnat.

Cantlow produced a fine effort in last season's La Touche Cup at the Punchestown festival when second to Quantitativeeasing and he then went on to finish in mid-division in the Galway Plate.

He seemed to relish the intricacies of the banks course when winning the Risk of Thunder Chase at Punchestown last month and had plenty to spare over stablemate Auvergnat.

Bolger said: "Cantlow won well at Punchestown last time and he's our number one. He's taken really well to cross-country racing and we know that he'll like the ground.

"Auvergnat wouldn't have the same experience as Cantlow and finished behind him at Punchestown the last day. He's improving and we hope he can run well for us as well, but Cantlow looks our number one."

The Gordon Elliott-trained Bless The Wings made the frame in the cross-country at the festival last season before going down fighting behind Rogue Angel in the Irish Grand National under Ruby Walsh, while Jim Dreaper's Goonyella is another Irish raider.

Old Roan Chase winner Third Intention represents Colin Tizzard, who is bidding to become the second British trainer, alongside three-time winner Philip Hobbs, to land this prize in the last ten years.

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