Imperial Aura will lead what Kim Bailey believes is “undoubtedly” his strongest ever staff into battle at this yr’s Cheltenham Competition.
Twenty-six years on from finishing the Champion Hurdle-Cheltenham Gold Cup double with Alderbrook and Grasp Oats, the Cotswolds coach is worked up about his possibilities of including to his tally on the showpiece occasion of the season.
“In that large yr I had, I had a horse referred to as Easy Arithmetic, who we thought would win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and completed third, and a few horses run in handicaps,” mentioned Bailey.
“I’ve by no means been one for working horses at Cheltenham except they’d a purpose for going there.
“This yr is undoubtedly my strongest staff, (and) Imperial Aura was all the time going to be on the entrance of the home.
“We have been steadily build up in the direction of this. It is nice that it is coming to fruition – and now they have to attempt to show a degree.”
Bailey’s Competition staff had been put by means of their paces on Wednesday morning, and the coach was relieved to report all got here by means of with flying colors.
He mentioned: “We have had a really profitable morning. We labored all of the horses this morning and schooled all of them in thick fog. The beauty of working horses within the fog is that they all the time work 5 instances higher than they do usually, as a result of none of us can see them!
“I am very enthusiastic about Cheltenham – having fancied runners on the Cheltenham Competition is why we do it.
“It’ll be very totally different this yr – it is going to be very unhappy (with house owners and spectators absent due to coronavirus restrictions).
“I really feel very sorry for the racecourse and extremely sorry for the house owners, as a result of Cheltenham is Cheltenham and why so many individuals get entangled in possession.”
Ryanair Chase contender Imperial Aura received the now defunct novices’ handicap chase finally yr’s assembly and was spectacular in profitable his first two begins of the present marketing campaign at Carlisle and Ascot.
The eight-year-old then unseated David Bass on his newest outing at Kempton, however Bailey just isn’t too anxious about that.
He added: “We have executed in depth education with him. He is a superb jumper, and I am satisfied one thing took his eye off the fence. I am very grateful it occurred there – and hopefully it will not occur at Cheltenham.
“He labored very properly this morning, and schooled very properly.
“I am delighted with the best way the horse is progressing. We did not go for the Ascot Chase the opposite day, and we’re hopefully going to Cheltenham as a recent horse.”
Whereas Imperial Aura was all the time anticipated to return to Cheltenham with main claims, Bailey admits the development of First Movement into a real contender for the Betway Queen Mom Champion Chase has taken him unexpectedly.
Unbeaten in his final six races, the son of Main earned his shot on the two-mile chasing championship with a completely spectacular Grade One success within the Clarence Home at Ascot on his newest look.
“Once I made the entry (for the Champion Chase) it was a bit of little bit of a fairytale entry actually, however what he achieved at Ascot was phenomenal – it was pretty much as good a race as I’ve ever watched in my life, I believe,” mentioned Bailey.
“I actually loved the truth that he did what he did, and it was the best way he did it on floor that we weren’t essentially anticipating him to be that good on.
“It launched us in a short time to a spot the place now we have to go for the Champion Chase – whether or not we prefer it or not. He turned a horse that is definitely adequate (to run).
“We’re going ahead in a brand new dimension and in a spot the place none of us knew we might be. We’ll take it on with each fingers and with each toes firmly on the bottom.”
Bailey would dearly love so as to add a Champion Chase victory to his CV, including: “I’ve by no means had a fancied runner in it – I’ve solely had one runner within the race earlier than, and that was a scenario the place the house owners insisted on working him.
“I’ve all the time cherished the race and cherished watching it. I am going again to the times of Viking Flagship when there was three horses leaping the final upsides in entrance.
“What a second it will be to have the horse that passes the submit in entrance in a race like that.”
Bailey plans to make a late name on whether or not to permit Vinndication to hitch stablemate Younevercall within the Paddy Energy Stayers’ Hurdle, or shoot for glory within the Gold Cup.
Vinndication has not been seen in aggressive motion since unseating his rider within the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November.
“If we had been to run Vinndication within the Stayers’, David Bass would trip – so subsequently after we had been working the horses this morning, it was vital Ciaran Gethings had the prospect to sit down on Younevercall (with a view to using at Cheltenham),” mentioned Bailey
“I am sitting on the fence at this second in time with Vinndication. It would in all probability be the top of subsequent week earlier than we decide – as shut as doable (to the assembly).
“He is been education over fences and hurdles, and I actually wish to see the place I’m.
“My largest drawback with him is the final time he ran was at Newbury, and he unseated. Till he parted firm together with his jockey, he was leaping brilliantly and I have to have it in my very own thoughts that he can do this once more (to run within the Gold Cup).
“It is a tough one for everyone. I do not wish to say a technique or t’different, after which change my thoughts.”