Soft approach will be key for Coneygree at Wetherby

FORMER Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Coneygree is on track to reappear in Wetherby's bet365 Charlie Hall Chase on Saturday week.

Coneygree.

Victorious in racing’s blue riband chase in 2015, the injury-hit horse pleased connections on the gallops yesterday,

And there’s every chance that conditions will be to the horse’s liking – the going is currently ‘soft’ after 35mm of rain following the track’s season-opening meeting last week.

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Coneygree’s presence in the line-up will certainly add lustre to a celebrated race that is also due to feature Colin Tizzard’s ever popular Cue Card who triumphed in the 2015 renewal of Wetherby’s flagship race.

The lightly-raced horse, the first novice to win the Gold Cup since Captain Christy in 1974, is trained in Oxfordshire by Mark Bradstock and his wife Sara.

Her late father Lord Oaksey bred Coneygree and she said the horse will run at Wetherby provided the ground is “on the soft side of good”.

“He worked very well this morning and we’re looking forward to running,” she told The Yorkshire Post.

“He was in tip-top form prior to Listowel, but we pulled him out because of the heavy ground and then he wasn’t quite himself for a couple of weeks.

“But we’d rather run in a race without a penalty, and get weight from the likes of Cue Card, rather than carry top weight in a handicap. The horse means the world. He’s a miracle. He’s genuinely a fairytale.

“We bought his dam Plaid Maid for a couple of grand for my dear father and she produced Carruthers, who won a Hennessy, and Coneygree who won a Gold Cup.

“He’s just an incredible horse, he didn’t know whether it was the RSA Chase for novices at Cheltenham or the Gold Cup.”

Other potential opponents include course winner Defintly Red who is trained at Malton by Brian Ellison.

Jockey Andrea Atzeni is looking to Chilean to give him an incredible fifth successive win in Saturday’s Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

Trained by Martyn Meade, Chilean has won two of his three starts to date, most recently taking a Listed race in facile style at Haydock. Atzeni’s golden run began with Kingston Hill in 2013, with Elm Park, Marcel and Rivet scoring for him subsequently.

Prior to that, Aidan O’Brien had won three of the previous four renewals and he currently has 12 of the 22 entries as he goes in search of a world record 26th Group One win of the year.

“He’s a good ride to get. On Sunday I didn’t think I’d have a ride, but it’s nice to get one like him,” said Atzeni.

“He’s definitely going the right way, he was very impressive last time at Haydock on very soft ground.

“Obviously he needs to improve again, but he is an improving horse.

“It’s been a very lucky race for me, to win four in a row is special and it would be nice to do it five times, so we’ll have a go on Saturday.”