Fry: Rooneys’ Cheltenham decision is ‘absolutely their prerogative’

Owners have opted not to have runners at Prestbury Park for the foreseeable future

  • Friday 04 January
  • News
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Trainer Harry Fry is happy to accept the decision of owners Paul and Clare Rooney not to have any runners at Cheltenham for the foreseeable future.

The Rooneys have enjoyed big-race success over jumps and on the Flat in recent years, including a Cheltenham Festival winner when the Ben Pauling-trained Willoughby Court won a thrilling Neptune Novices’ Hurdle two years ago.

However, they suffered heartbreak at the Gloucestershire venue later in the year after David Pipe’s Starchitect was fatally injured in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and it emerged on New Year’s Day that the leading owners were boycotting the home of National Hunt racing due to safety concerns.

Fry trains a team of four horses for the Rooneys, including their most recent big-race winner in Coral Hurdle victor If The Cap Fits.

Speaking in his Betway blog, the Seaborough trainer said: “I’ve got four horses in training for Paul and Clare Rooney at the moment, including If The Cap Fits and The Last Samuri, so have obviously been listening to their concerns over running at Cheltenham.

“Deciding to not run horses at the track is absolutely their prerogative and in many way it makes things easier for us. It’s black and white, we can plan for other races and it may even take the pressure off a bit.

“There are plenty of other good races and festivals that can be targeted, and though having winners at Cheltenham can be hugely rewarding, you can get more disappointment there than at any other racecourse.

“Everyone wants to win at Cheltenham, there’s no better feeling in the sport, but that’s why we always see maximum fields with everyone pushing that little bit more.

“It’s a very hard place to have winners.”

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