Kerry gold: Coneygree set to light up Listowel
Coneygree is on course to reappear in the Kerry National next month at Listowel, connections reported on Tuesday.
The ten-year-old would be making back-to-back appearances in Ireland having run a stormer to be third behind Sizing John in the Punchestown Gold Cup in April.
The 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, who is a best-priced 25-1 to regain his crown at Cheltenham in March, has been plagued by niggles since that triumph, running just three times subsequently.
Sara Bradstock, wife of trainer Mark Bradstock, said: "If we have any luck between now and then we'll go to Listowel. He's in good nick – he couldn't be in better nick actually.
"I think he's definitely improved for the Punchestown run. He ran a cracker on ground that probably was a tiny bit fast for him, which was why his jumping wasn't quite as foot perfect as usual."
The 165-rated Coneygree would almost certainly carry top weight in the Kerry National on September 13, with connections testing the waters with a view to a potential tilt at the Ladbrokes Trophy – formerly the Hennessy – at Newbury in December.
Bradstock said: "One of the reasons we'd be going to Listowel is to definitely know whether he handles the demands of being at the top of the handicap.
"I don't really see why it would be an issue but I know it doesn't suit everything, and we'd rather not go back to Haydock [for the Betfair Chase] really.
"We're going to the Kerry National as long as we know we're getting nice even ground. I've never been Listowel, so it will be a first time."
Fresh from success in last week's Galway Plate and consolation race, Henry de Bromhead is eyeing further major handicap chase success.
The in-form trainer said: "We've a couple in mind for the Kerry National, including On Fiddlers Green, who hated the ground at Galway on Friday.
"Stellar Notion will definitely go for it and Deans Road is another possible, but we'll see closer to the time."
Willie Mullins could be represented by some of his team who went close behind De Bromhead's Balko Des Flos in the €250,000 Galway Plate.
"It's very early days but the horses we ran in the Galway Plate would be considered," said Mullins.
"Shaneshill will go to the Kerry National," he added of a horse whose shuddering error five out was a big factor in him finishing second at Galway in a 2m6½f chase on Sunday behind stablemate Arbre De Vie.
2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup
William Hill 5 Sizing John, Thistlecrack, 7 Douvan, 8 Yorkhill, 10 Might Bite, Our Duke, 12 Djakadam, Minella Rocco, Native River, 20 Coneygree, Cue Card, Disko, 25-1 bar
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