Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Briareus in Frame for Arkle Glory

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Briareus in Frame for Arkle Glory

Article excerpt

Byline: By Martin Kelly

Briareus created some minor ripples in the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy betting after staying on strongly to land the Grade Two Scanmoor Noel Novices' Chase at Ascot.

Last season's Champion Hurdle sixth was having just his second start over fences following his close second to Killaghy Castle three weeks ago and got off the mark with a three-length defeat of Knight Legend.

Mark Bradburne employed positive tactics on the 7-2 shot and his front-running ride saw him turn for home with an advantage that never looked like being eroded.

The runner-up had to scrap for his place and only held Royal Shakespeare by a short head, with 8-13 favourite Natal finishing fourth of the five runners.

Coral and William Hill cut the winner to 16-1 for the Cheltenham race, while Stan James and Blue Square are slightly shorter at 14s and Cashmans offer just 12-1.

Trainer Andrew Balding said: "Mark rode him really well and he got the trip (two miles and three furlongs) really well, which opens up more options for him. I think he is better in smaller fields.

"There are no grand plans and we will take it race by race, but the Arkle would be the obvious target and I imagine he will have one run beforehand."

Ian Williams was left dreaming of a first Cheltenham Festival success after Tagula Blue displayed great tenacity to capture the Grade Two Mitie Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle.

Blue Square introduced the six-year-old as a 33-1 chance for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, while Coral, Totesport and William Hill went 25-1 and Cashmans 20s following his gritty half-length win. Wayne Hutchinson's mount had some top-drawer form to his name having finished a close third to Champion Hurdle hope Straw Bear earlier in the year and rewarded his followers when scoring as an 8-1 chance.

The recent Newbury second hit the front approaching the final flight and kept on well when challenged by Moon Over Miami to record a tidy victory, with Carlitos taking third and 10-11 favourite Pepporoni Pete fading to fifth.

Williams said: "He ran well at Newbury with a penalty against Silverburn and the pair pulled nicely clear that day. …

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