Phil Tufnell leads British challenge for BetBright Cup at Cheltenham

Phil Tufnell is "feeling pretty confident" about the chances of a British success in the BetBright Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

  • Saturday 25 February
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Phil Tufnell is "feeling pretty confident" about the chances of a British success in the BetBright Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

The former England cricketer and Irish TV and radio presenter Hector Ó hEochagáin were announced as the respective British and Irish captains for the prize, which is awarded to the country with the greatest number of Festival winners.

Ó hEochagáin captained the Ireland side in 2016, but Tufnell is a fresh addition to the line-up this year and is eager for the competition.

He said: "I'm really looking forward to going down to Cheltenham with Hector showing me the ropes a little bit. I think it will be a great four days.

"I'm feeling pretty confident, even if they had brought their A team as they have had a few setbacks. Bring it on."

Last year's event ended in a draw with 14 winners apiece, and Ó hEochagáin is keen to return to Prestbury Park.

He said: "I've just got back from going to Central America before Christmas. I came through the jungles of Honduras and El Salvador and Guatamala, so I look forward to going to another jungle which is Cheltenham.

"We are up for this as well this year. It's the greatest week in racing. It's the rivalry between Ireland and England that we are celebrating here and we are great friends and neighbours. If we can come across with some good horses, we are still in there with a fighting chance."

Rich Ricci, chairman of BetBright, believes the Irish could be up against it this year with the likes of Faugheen, Annie Power and Min, all of whom run in his colours, on the sidelines through injury.

However, Ricci is delighted to see his firm back the competition for a third year.

He said: "It's great to be able to sponsor these things. We could not have got off to a better start to the BetBright Cup. It was competitive throughout.

"I know the odds are stacked against Ireland, but I'm sure they will be competitive. We have got a few up our sleeves that might do all right.

"It's supposed to be fun to enjoy celebrating the Festival and that's what it is."

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