Henderson lets Roberto Goldback run in Hennessy
Nicky Henderson has decided to let Roberto Goldback join stable companion Bobs Worth in Saturday’s Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
The Seven Barrows handler said earlier in the week the 10-year-old, who won on his debut for Henderson at Ascot this month, was more likely to run over a shorter trip at Newbury tomorrow.
However, Henderson said yesterday: “We’ve had a slight change of heart and we have decided Roberto Goldback will run in the Hennessy after all.
“He’s a stayer and while it will be testing ground, he’s not a two-and-a-half-miler. It’s not going to be easy as he has a lot of weight, but we are happy with him.
“The ground will not be within a million miles of what he really wants but it seemed pointless to run in the shorter race.”
Co Meath trainer Tom Gibney is concerned a lack of match practice may catch out his Irish Grand National hero Lion Na Bearnai. The 10-year-old gave his little-known trainer a major victory at Fairyhouse in the spring, but a minor setback meant he has not been able to have a prep run.
“He’s all set to go,” said Gibney yesterday. “He was due to have a prep run but unfortunately that didn’t work out because we had a bit of a hold-up with him about a month ago.”
Another Irish horse who will definitely be lining up for Saturday’s StanJames.comFighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle is Trifolium. The five-year-old is also engaged in Sunday’s Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse, but is instead set to cross the Irish Sea.
Trainer Charles Byrnes hopes a wind operation can help him put a disappointing seasonal reappearance behind him. Byrnes said: “He’s definitely running at Newcastle and we’re looking forward to the race.
“He’s had a minor wind operation since his last run. It’s only a small field on Saturday and there is some good prize-money. Hopefully we’ll bring a bit of it home with us.”
Meanwhile, Oscar Time is set to return to action in today’s Glen Chase at Thurles after being sidelined for the last 12 months through injury.
The Robert Waley-Cohen-owned gelding, runner-up to Ballabriggs in the 2011 John Smith’s Grand National, was being prepared for another crack at the Aintree marathon when he suffered slight tendon damage in January.
Trainer Martin Lynch reports the 11-year-old ready to return to the fray for the first time since he was fourth in a hurdle race at Thurles last November.
“It’s great to have him back and his training this year has gone nicely,” said the Co Westmeath handler. “We’ve had him back in after his summer break and all’s gone well since then.
“It’s day by day and hopefully all will go well. This race is a suitable starting point and hopefully we’ll be able to take it in.
“He hasn’t been over-raced so it’s fingers crossed we’ll get to Aintree again this season.”
There is a field of six for the three-mile heat, including Forpadydeplasterer, who aims to bounce back from a disappointing run in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
Trainer Tom Cooper felt the 10-year-old could not jump out of the ground that day, and is hoping for better luck against fewer rivals.
“He had no real race in Cheltenham and came out of it fine, so we thought we’d take a chance,” said Cooper.
“The ground may be no better but it’s three miles and it’s a weaker event so we’ll have a go.”
Completing the sextet are Berties Dream, Florida Express, Allee Garde and Snooze.