Festival options for La Bague

Warren Greatrex is not concerned if he has to go straight to the Cheltenham Festival with talented mare La Bague Au Roi.

La Bague Au Roi could head straight to Cheltenham

Having decided to give the five-year-old, who is a leading ante-post contender for the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle, a winter break away from his yard, the Upper Lambourn handler is now considering sending her to the blue riband event in March without a prep run.

After posting wins at Uttoxeter and Wetherby, the high-class bumper performer took her form to new heights when capturing a Listed contest at Newbury.

Greatrex said: "La Bague Au Roi is having a mid winter break at Phil and Mel Rowley's place in Shropshire where she was broken in.

"She had a break last season before Aintree at our yard, but she was quite active all the time and she never let herself down or relaxed and in my view that is why she underperformed at Aintree.

"We might give her a prep run but I'm perfectly happy to go straight to Cheltenham. I don't think she needs a prep run as I've got three runs into her and she does run very well fresh.

"The race at Cheltenham will be perfect for her as she stays well and she has plenty of speed. The only thing she hasn't got is experience of the track but that shouldn't be a problem."

While La Bague Au Roi takes a winter break, Greatrex expects equally talented mare The Nipper to develop into an above-average performer when sent over hurdles.

Having claimed a Listed contest at Sandown on her penultimate start, the five-year-old saw her colours lowered for the first time when running out while leading at the Punchestown Festival in April.

He added: "The Nipper has just had a few niggling problems, but we are in full swing working with her now.

"She will start schooling at the end of this week and then we will start looking for races. She is probably a couple of weeks away from running.

"She will be back around Christmas time. She loves soft ground and looks the part now. I can't wait to get her over hurdles."

Read More at Sporting Life

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