Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Racing

Nolan sees Card at Close hand

Paul Nolan is under no illusions about the task facing Far Away So Close in the Cheltenham Collection Sharp Novices' Hurdle.

The five-year-old won at Tipperary and Punchestown last month, but now steps up notably in grade, with Supreme Novices' Hurdle favourite Cue Card among his opposition.

Nolan said: "He'll have to improve an awful lot but he does have experience and will take his chance. Cue Card is the talking horse at the moment, very much like Dunguib last year. His jumping looks good and he deserves to be the short-priced favourite."

Terence O'Brien's Ballyadam Brook is another interesting raider from this side of the Irish Sea, but Colin Tizzard believes his star turn Cue Card.has nothing to fear.

The four-year-old was a devastating winner of the Champion Bumper at Prestbury Park back in March and it was difficult not to be impressed with his hurdling debut success at Aintree. He will certainly face a sterner test in Friday's Grade Two contest, but Tizzard remains confident his youngster can prove too strong for his rivals.

"I didn't expect anything other than a very good race. It's Cheltenham and at this time of year everyone wants to know how good their horses are. It's a lovely race and I think we'll find out a fair bit more about him," said the Dorset handler.

"But on our bumper form we're a fair bit in front of these horses, so there is no reason for us to back off. It's a good race, we're looking forward to it and it should be lovely ground. I think he'd handle any ground actually and I don't want to tempt fate but he's always been a good jumper."


From Belfast Telegraph