Irish trainer Denis Hogan has had just eight runners at Cheltenham in the last five seasons. He’ll be having his ninth and tenth runners at the Gloucestershire track on Friday. Both runners are available at substantial prices as he attempts this ambitious double raid. The journey from his base in Cloughjordan in County Tipperary to Cheltenham racecourse is a 772-mile round trip. It’s a long way to come and connections won’t want to return home empty-handed. Check out our free tips page for daily content across British and Irish racing.
Wojood (18-1, William Hill) probably isn’t fully exposed yet with just nine hurdles starts so far. Coming back down to an extended two miles is likely to suit. The gelding didn’t appear to get home over 2m4f at Listowel last time out. He wasn’t out of the race at Galway three starts ago before falling two out, he was in touch and making headway. Compensation was quickly gained after winning at Ballinrobe on his next start. Having got up late to win that day, the track at Cheltenham could suit as the stiff finish will make the leaders easier to catch.
Desert Friend (16-1, Paddy Power) is an interesting runner in the Ballymore trial. You would have to say some improvement will be required but that isn’t out of the question. Came back in June after a six-month break a much improved horse as he’d shown little since his promising debut last September. Hogan’s charge shed his maiden tag at Listowel in comfortable fashion, winning by eight lengths. The form of that win hasn’t worked out all that well but the fourth is a subsequent winner. Two third-place finishes have followed which is why improvement is required but this isn’t the strongest Ballymore trial.
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