Lauren Braithwaite eyes first Cheltenham Festival runner
Lauren Braithwaite is eager to saddle her first Cheltenham Festival runner when Berties Dream lines up in the Foxhunter.
Last Updated: 03/03/14 12:17pm
Berties Dream won the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the 2010 Festival for Irish trainer Paul Gilligan and was sixth in the World Hurdle 12 months later. He missed the showpiece meeting in 2012, but was back a year ago for Henry de Bromhead and again excelled on the big occasion, finishing a creditable fifth in the Pertemps Final.
That was the 11-year-old's last appearance under Rules, but he has done well in the point-to-point sphere since joining Braithwaite last summer and the Newmarket-based trainer is looking forward to seeing her charge line up on Cheltenham Gold Cup day.
Braithwaite said: "It's very much the plan for him to run and he seems in good form. We got him last summer and he's been in with us since August. I obviously I haven't sat on him myself for a while!
"He's pretty straightforward to train, but he is pretty lazy. You have to keep on top of him and make sure he is doing plenty of work. His best form is at Cheltenham and the big days seem to perk him up, so we're hoping that will be the case next week."
Braithwaite's husband, Andrew, is a successful point-to-point rider and has also ridden a winner under Rules, but he will not be on board Berties Dream next week.
"Andrew rode him work at the weekend and he worked well, but he's not the sort of horse who shows you a lot at home," said the trainer.
"I have always wanted to have a horse good enough to go to Cheltenham for Andrew to ride, but with everything that has been happening, he hasn't ridden this year. He's hoping to make a comeback at some stage!
"Gina Andrews has ridden him on each of his three runs and will ride him again next week. She has good experience of riding at Cheltenham.
"He's run in three point-to-points since he joined us. He finished third on his first run at Chaddesley Corbett and I think he just badly needed the run that day in very soft ground.
"He then won very easily in what was probably not a great race at Ampton and was then quite impressive in a better race at North Carlton. They went a good gallop that day and he was pulling away at the line."
Although her three newborn boys remain in hospital, Braithwaite is hoping to make the trip to Prestbury Park and she is keeping her fingers crossed Berties Dream will do himself justice.
"His best form is at Cheltenham and the big days seem to perk him up, so we're hoping that will be the case next week," she said.
"We have 11 horses in training at the moment and to have a runner at the Festival will be amazing. I'm not expecting him to win, but it would be great if he went there and was competitive. The only worry is that his best form is over hurdles.
"I'm hoping to be there, as this might never happen again, but that will be up to the babies. They are a month old now and still in hospital, but they are doing fine and progressing well."