JOHN Quinn will be triple-handed as he attempts to add to his tally of Cheltenham Festival winners.
The Malton trainer’s Character Building won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase for amateur riders in 2009 under a nerveless Jamie Codd.
And he enjoyed even greater success in 2012 when the Dougie Costello-ridden Countryside Flame landed the Grade One Triumph Hurdle.
Yet, while Quinn excels on the Flat, his enthusiasm for the National Hunt sphere remains undimmed and Look My Way could be the pick of his trio.
Sired by Pour Moi, the fast finishing horse who won the 2011 Epsom Derby when jockey Mickael Barzalona celebrated victory before crossing the line, the gelding has run three times over hurdles since being snapped up out of Andrew Balding’s yard for 70,000 guineas.
After finishing second on his jumping debut at Newcastle in December, Look My Way justified cramped odds at Ludlow and was last seen finishing second to Triumph Hurdle favourite Apple’s Shakira at Cheltenham in January.
I’m very happy with him. He seems in very good form. A cut in the ground won’t bother him and he ran very well round Cheltenham when he was second to Apple’s Shakira.Malton-based trainer, John Quinn
The four-year-old is set to switch to handicap company for the Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle on Wednesday week.
“I’m very happy with him. He seems in very good form,” said Quinn.
“A cut in the ground won’t bother him and he ran very well round Cheltenham when he was second to Apple’s Shakira.
“Apple’s Shakira is a very good mare and we were very pleased with the run. He jumped particularly well that day.
“I think he’ll run in the Fred Winter and I think he’ll have a sporting chance.”
Quinn, one of the country’s top dual-purpose trainers, is also set to saddle the JP McManus-owned Project Bluebook in one of the fiercely competitive Festival handicaps, while the Cheltenham participation of Master Of Irony, victorious at Wetherby’s season-opening fixture last March, will be decided after he takes part in Saturday’s Imperial Cup at Sandown.
Project Bluebook, a winner of a Grade Two hurdle at Fairyhouse’s Irish Grand National meeting last April, has only raced once this season when tailed off behind Amy Murphy’s progrssive Kalashnikov in Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle.
However, most horses were not suited by the bottomless ground at the Berkshire track.
“I’ve got to speak to Frank Berry (owner’s racing manager) about Project Bluebook in the next few days,” Quinn confirmed.
“He’s in the Coral Cup, he’s in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle and he’s in the County Hurdle,”
“He’s never gone beyond two-mile-one, but he does seem to stay well.
“I can’t really tell you which race he’ll run in, but he seems in good form and he’d need the ground to dry a little bit.”
On Quinn’s Festival record, he reflected: “We’ve been lucky to have two winners at Cheltenham and a couple just touched off
“Character Building won the Kim Muir, having just been touched off in the four-miler (National Hunt Chase) the year before.
“Countrywide Flame won the Triumph Hurdle six years ago and was third in the Champion Hurdle the year after, which was a great run.
“Unfortunately he got injured. He could have made a top-class hurdle horse, but that’s the way it goes.
“We have a few chances this year and we’re looking forward to them.”
Doncaster winner Sceau Royal will miss the Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival after meeting with a setback.
The Alan King-trained the six-year-old, who won the Lightning Novices Chase on Town Moor on his last outing, was third favourite for the Grade One contest.
Phlegmatic King said: “It is just a little niggle, but it is enough to stop us and we have taken the decision we will not be taking him to Cheltenham. It is a shame, but this is what happens with horses unfortunately – there is no point hiding it.”