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Williams plans to go Large at Cheltenham

Evan Williams plans to give Esprit Du Large a mid-season break and send him straight to the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in March. (stock photo)
Evan Williams plans to give Esprit Du Large a mid-season break and send him straight to the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in March. (stock photo)

By Graham Clark

Evan Williams plans to give Esprit Du Large a mid-season break and send him straight to the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

After providing Williams with his first Grade One winner over fences in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown earlier this month, the William and Angela Rucker-owned five-year-old will bid to strike at the same level by making it a hat-trick of wins for the season in the two-mile championship.

The Llancarfan handler feels giving his new stable star a short rest now is the ideal thing to do, ahead of what he hopes will be a busy spring campaign.

Williams said: "The plan is to go straight to the Arkle with Esprit Du Large. He has had three runs before Christmas and won a Grade One.

"There is no point slogging him around in January and February with penalties on his back, as really and truly the spring is when we want him. Had he needed the experience it might have been different.

"He will have his jabs now and have a quiet time over Christmas, as there are potentially three Grade Ones at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown in the spring."

Williams added: "He might have an away day or a school somewhere, but I'm not too worried if he doesn't."

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