Coole Cody seeking to bolster fine Cheltenham record
The 12-year-old is a firm favourite at Prestbury Park thanks to an impressive record that has seen him come home in the money nine times when running at Cheltenham.
He is a Cheltenham Festival winner having taken the Plate last season and returned to the same race when last seen, coming home eighth in a creditable run as the oldest horse in the field.
Coole Cody has run in this particular Grade Two event before, finishing fourth in 2021 and third last season but now running off a mark 12lb lower than his most recent tilt at the contest.
“He ran a good race at the Festival, he’s older now and it’s obviously very tough but we’ll give it a go,” said Williams.
“It will help him massively (the lower handicap mark), he’s not the same boy as he was last season but there’s no doubting he ran a very solid race last time.
“We’ve been very, very lucky, if you’re going to like anywhere then it’s a good place to like!
“I think it’s the only major two-and-a-half-mile handicap around Cheltenham that he hasn’t won, he seems to have won all of the others so it’d be really nice if he could go well.”
Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero are represented by Herbiers, a French-bred six-year-old who runs off a career-high mark after taking a Newbury contest by two lengths last time out.
Prior to that he was beaten just a neck in a Kempton novice handicap and so comes to Cheltenham in form having run well at the track over hurdles at the same meeting last year.
“He was beaten a neck there last year and it seemed to suit him,” said Greenall.
“He’ll like the ground as it is drying out and his jumping seems to be improving with every run so we have our fingers crossed.”
The market is led by Dan Skelton’s Heltenham, a highly consistent six-year-old who has won his last three races.
His latest success, a two-mile-four-furlong Newbury handicap chase, was a particular step forward as he moved from class four to class two company and won neatly by five and a half lengths.
Venetia Williams’ Gemirande has alternated winning with coming home in second place all season and heads to Cheltenham off the back of a good run in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury where he was beaten just a head.
Dr Richard Newland runs Captain Tom Cat, with Nigel Twiston-Davies saddling Super Six and Chris Gordon represented by Unanswered Prayers.
Alan King’s Deyrann De Carjac, Nicky Henderson’s Caribean Boy, Donald McCain’s Presentandcounting, Gary Moore’s Zhiguli and Sophie Leech’s Cilaos Emery complete the field of 12.
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