Fleming aiming pair at Cheltenham

Trainer Alan Fleming could fire a twin assault at this year's Champion Bumper with both Borderline Chatho and Bakmaj in line for the Cheltenham Festival prize.

Denis O'Regan: Can look forward to a nice ride in the Champion Bumper.

Having finished runner-up on his racecourse debut at Leopardstown over the festive period for Peter Fahey, Bakmaj was snapped up by leading owner Barry Connell and provided an immediate return on that investment with an impressive success on his debut for Fleming back at Leopardstown last month.

Borderline Chatho, who finished third to top-class bumper horse Bacardys last season, made a winning return from over a year off at Naas and Fleming holds both in high regard.

He said: "Borderline (Chatho) was very impressive the other day and has come out of the race well.

"He'd been off the track for a while, but he hasn't really had an issue. He ran in Leopardstown as a four-year-old and ran very well considering the way the race was run didn't suit him. We were then planning to bring him back around March time, but he picked up a little cold and by the time he came right the ground had gone too fast so we let him out for the summer.

"We hoped to have him ready for the autumn, but the horses weren't right at the time and we've just had to bide our time.

"We'll make a plan for him in the next week to 10 days, but I've no doubt he'll improve from Naas and Cheltenham is something we'd be looking at.

"He has all the ability in the world and having the year off might have been a blessing in disguise as you wouldn't believe how much he's grown."

Of Bakmaj, the Curragh-based trainer added: "He was bought specifically with the Champion Bumper in mind, so that's the plan for him.

"He had a very good first run for Peter Fahey, Barry was impressed and decided to buy him.

"I'm glad he did as he looks a very nice horse and we're looking forward to Cheltenham with him.

"It would be very exciting to have the two of them there. Fingers crossed we can keep them both safe and sound."

Fleming confirmed Connell's retained rider Denis O'Regan would have the choice of which horse he wanted to ride if both do line up at Prestbury Park in March.

Amateur rider Stephen Clements, who has steered both to victory, is in line to partner whichever horse O'Regan passes over.

Read More at Sporting Life

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