Chatham Street Lad bids for big handicap success at Cheltenham

Success at national hunt HQ would be a first for popular Cork trainer Michael Winters

Michael Winters celebrates winning the Powers Gold  Cup with Rebel Fitz at Fairyhouse in 2014. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Michael Winters celebrates winning the Powers Gold Cup with Rebel Fitz at Fairyhouse in 2014. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Chatham Street Lad travels from Michael Winters’s yard in north Cork with a major handicap victory at Cheltenham in his sights on Saturday.

Just a handful of Irish-trained horses have won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup over the years. They include the legendary Flyingbolt who landed it in 1965 when the race was under the ‘Massey Ferguson’ banner.

Although Chatham Street Lad isn’t in the same parish in terms of talent it would still make for an evocative occasion should he manage to go from the north Cork birthplace of steeplechasing and win big at jump racing’s HQ.

Winters himself has tasted big race glory such as back to back Galway Hurdle victories but Cheltenham success would be a new experience for the popular Kanturk trainer.

“I wouldn’t know all the form but all the high-profile trainers have horses in it. There appears to be a lot of horses on the way up and maybe some going downhill.

“Our fella is in great form, he has a grand weight and it’s nice to be heading to Cheltenham. If he runs an honourable race it would be great,” Winters said.

Chatham Street Lad won easily on his last start at Cork and looks set to get his favoured testing ground conditions. The last Irish-trained winner of the race was Sir Oj 15 years ago.

One of his big threats will be Coole Cody, winner of the Paddy Power at the track last month, who’ll try to become just the fourth horse to win the two major Cheltenham handicaps in the same year.

On the same Cheltenham programme Richard Johnson rides the John McConnell-trained Gowran winner Make Good in a Grade Two hurdle over almost three miles.

In Doncaster Robbie Power will team up with Gordon Elliott for the Sligo winner Glorious Zoff in a Grade Two Juvenile Hurdle contest.

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