Oliver Sherwood finalises Cheltenham Festival plans
Oliver Sherwood is close to finalising running plans for his Cheltenham team with Many Clouds set for the RSA Chase.
Last Updated: 10/03/14 2:47pm
The Trevor Hemmings-owned novice has recorded two wins and two seconds from his four runs this season, most recently finishing runner-up to O'Faolains Boy in Ascot's Reynoldstown Novices' Chase.
Sherwood has always held the seven-year-old in high regard, and did have options for the Cloudings gelding, as he explained.
He said: "If I had it my way we'd have probably gone for the three-mile handicap (on Tuesday), but Mr Hemmings already has another horse in the race (Vintage Star) and he's entitled to run in this.
"I think it's a very open RSA this year and you can make a case for half a dozen horses, if not more.
"In his last run at Ascot some people have said that he and Gevrey Chambertin might have cut each other's throats a bit up front, but we certainly won't be running him that forcefully at the Festival.
"The one thing I've been really pleased with this season, especially in his last two runs, has been his jumping. It was exemplary at Ascot.
"I think he's going there with a good chance and if he finishes in the first five I'll be very pleased."
Stablemate Deputy Dan is entered in both the Neptune and Albert Bartlett, but Sherwood has said that his novice is more likely to run in Friday's race over three miles.
After twice finishing runner-up in his first two starts over hurdles, he then went on to record back-to-back wins in impressive style at Chepstow and Warwick on heavy ground, despite suffering a nasty cut on a hind leg in the latter.
Sherwood said: "He'll almost certainly run in the Albert Bartlett and he's in great form. He'll have no problems with the extra trip as he has plenty of stamina in the pedigree.
"It was public knowledge that he had a nasty cut when he won at Warwick, and he had to stand in his box for 10 days, but he's back to full work now and I've been very happy with his progress.
"I'm very lucky to have a horse that is capable of going there with a live each-way chance."
Sherwood has been forced to miss the OLBG Mares' Hurdle with Mischievous Milly after she suffered a setback, but does hope to run the lightly-raced Drum Valley is he gets into the Pertemps Final on Thursday.
He said: "It's going to be nip and tuck whether he gets in or not. He's a better horse on better ground, and he could be anything."