Pertemps aim for Saphir
High hopes following Newbury work
Last Updated: March 5, 2012 12:17pm
Saphir River is set to make his British debut in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham next week with Sam Thomas likely to have the ride.
The six-year-old grey fetched 280,000 euros at the Deauville sales last November, but has yet to be seen in competitive action in Britain since joining Michael Scudamore.
His French form nonetheless stacks up pretty well - he was a Grade One runner-up at Auteuil on his final start in November - and is feasibly well handicapped in the Pertemps, for which there is a preference over four other engagements at the Cheltenham Festival.
The trainer said: "We took him to Newbury for a gallop on Sunday and he worked very, very well.
"The intention was to get a run into him beforehand, but the way things have gone, what with the weather, that wasn't possible.
"The question mark had been whether to run him over two and a half miles or three (miles), but we are leaning towards the Pertemps at the moment.
"Sam Thomas, who has sat on him a few times, will probably be on board as I'm sure Tom (Scudamore) will have something for Pipey (David Pipe). He's our best chance of a winner and is a very exciting horse."