Harry Cobden retains full faith in Old Guard

Old Guard ridden by Harry Cobden (red cap) on their way to victory in the StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham
Image: Old Guard has plenty of Cheltenham form to his name

Harry Cobden believes Old Guard will stay the trip in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival provided conditions are in his favour.

The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding will step back up to three miles for the first time since finishing down the field in last year's Cleeve Hurdle over course and distance.

The seven-year-old, who is part-owned by television presenter Jeremy Kyle, gained his third win of the campaign last time out under Cobden in the Grade Two National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell.

Cobden said: "The horse owes the owners nothing having won over £300,000 in prize money now. The Stayers' Hurdle is over three miles, but he goes well round Cheltenham.

"The only negative is that he wants better ground and I would not be 100 per cent sure about him if it was heavy. If it is softer or slightly better, that would be ideal for him.

"In his old age he is getting a little bit clever, he only does what he has to and you have to niggle him a touch more to find that extra gear.

"He has won over two and two and a half at Cheltenham. They will go a relentless gallop in the Stayers' as I am sure Sam Spinner will go off like a rocket.

"I think he will stay as he stayed really well the last day at Fontwell and this is only another half a mile further. I can't see why he won't run well.

"He was not quite right when he tried three miles last time as he had been chasing earlier in the season and that was not his game.

"This season he has come back in and Paul Nicholls has got him spot on and he has plenty of confidence back in himself."

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