Cheltenham Festival 2022: Massive British boost as monster horse too big to measure gets green light to run
BRITISH hopes at the Cheltenham Festival have been given a huge boost with Hillcrest confirmed to run by trainer Henry Daly.
The giant horse – who his trainer says is too big to measure and weighs 109st – is the general 3-1 favourite for the Albert Bartlett.
Daly had been teasing punters by saying the huge runner might swerve the Festival in favour of Aintree next month.
But speaking on the Nick Luck Daily podcast, Daly confirmed Hillcrest, owned by the family of late billionaire Trevor Hemmings, is all go.
He said: "We came to the conclusion if the horse is well, which I think he is, the plan is to run in the Albert Bartlett.
"We know we get the trip, we know we don't mind the track, the ground is fine, anything good through to heavy.
"Why wouldn't we have a crack if we know he's OK? Which he is.
"We schooled him recently and he jumped nicely."
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However, Daly, who has four Cheltenham Festival winners, did fire off a word of warning about his stable star's jumping.
He said: "I think he will miss one. I can't get over that. But if we can only miss one and not three that will be a bonus.
"I haven't discussed who will be riding him."
Daly said Fortescue could be declared for the Ultima and, rain dependant, Rapper will go in one of the Ultima or Kim Muir.
But really it is all about Hillcrest.
The beastly horse nicknamed Rodney has raced five times over hurdles, winning four of them and unseating in the other.
That mishap came at Cheltenham in January, but in his run prior to that he was a convincing winner at the same track over the highly fancied I Am Maximus, trained by Nicky Henderson.
Hillcrest was given a quote of 16-1 for next Friday's Albert Bartlett then, but is around 3-1 now.
He is vying for favouritism with Gordon Elliott's Ginto after Minella Crooner, the ante post fav, was ruled out yesterday through injury.
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