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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Woollacott hoping Beer Goggles and Lalor can lift yard after loss of Edvardo

Big shock: 40-1 Long Distance Hurdle winner Beer Goggles heads for home, with the returning and ultimately well-beaten Thistlecrack (left) showing up well for a long way
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Richard Woollacott is looking to stable stars Beer Goggles and Lalor to book their places at the Cheltenham Festival over the next few weeks and lift everyone connected to the yard after the horrible loss of Edvardo at Wincanton on Saturday.

Woollacott's operation was dealt a cruel blow when Edvardo, sent off 4-1 favourite for a 2m5½f handicap hurdle live on ITV4, was brought down at the first – only to get up and gallop on injured before collapsing in distressing fashion in the back of the camera shot.

An emotional Woollacott explained on Monday: "He was brought down and unfortunately, as I understand it – I haven't watched it again for obvious reasons – he broke his back. Although he got up he probably ruptured his spleen galloping away."

Richard Woollacott: "My heart goes out to the owners who have supported us and my staff"

He added: "My heart goes out to all the owners who have supported us and all my staff."

Woollacott, who has "around 14 or 15" horses, is hopeful, however,  that the yard can bounce back with not one but two live Cheltenham chances.

Everyone knows about Beer Goggles after he got the better of Unowhatimeanharry, Taquin Du Seuil, Colin's Sister, Thistlecrack and Wholestone in the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in December, but Woollacott is hopeful of adding a second string to his bow in Betfair Hurdle hope, and last season's Aintree bumper winner, Lalor.

Lalor gives Richard Johnson an Aintree victory in the Grade 2 bumper

He added: "Beer Goggles is ever so well, he's had a nice little break and is building back up towards the Cleeve. If he proves he absolutely hates Cheltenham we may re-evaluate and go to Aintree, but all being well we'll go to the Stayers'."

He continued: "I think he'll be fine there, so that's the plan at this stage. He wouldn't want it heavy, that would be my biggest concern as he's better on better ground, but we'll probably go regardless as I want to get some experience of the place into him.

"At seven, he's the age to still be improving, and that's the hope. The form seems to be working out quite well; I was a little worried after Unowhatimeanharry's run in the Long Walk but then Wholestone and Colin's Sister perhaps lifted it back up again. It's an open-looking race and he has a genuine each-way chance."

Beer Goggles is not the only one, as the trainer added: "Lalor's quite a nice horse, but it would depend on how he runs next time. He's not won over hurdles yet but did finish in front of Summerville Boy last time, and that one has since won the Tolworth.

"He'll probably go to the Betfair first as he has the right profile for that race, and he'll certainly have entries for the Supreme and Ballymore."


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Beer Goggles is ever so well, he's had a nice little break and is building back up towards the Cleeve
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