Big freeze scuppers weekend plans for Festival-bound Pacha

Cheltenham prep delayed by weather

  • Thursday 31 January
  • News
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Plans for dual Cheltenham Foxhunter winner Pacha Du Polder remain fluid after an intended engagement at Musselburgh was frosted off.

The Andy Stewart-owned 12-year-old will be aiming for a slice of Festival history in March as no hunter chaser has won the race three times – but whatever happens that will be his last race.

Pacha Du Polder was also famously ridden by former Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton to finish fifth, beaten less than three lengths, in 2016.

Last March amateur jockey Harriet Tucker made the headlines when riding the finish of the race with a dislocated shoulder, while it was rising star Bryony Frost doing the steering in 2017.

Paul Nicholls had hoped to get a run into Pacha Du Polder this weekend, but will wait until the cold weather subsides before making a plan.

“It’s a bit of a pain, as we had been planning on going to Musselburgh,” said Stewart.

“It’s nobody’s fault of course – you can’t beat the weather – but we’ll have to come up with a different plan.

“I’ve spoken to Paul Nicholls and he said there’s no point saying we’re going to go here or there while all this cold weather is about, we may as well wait until it settles down.

“We definitely want him to have one race before the Festival, but it’s only six weeks away.

“If it comes down to it he can always go for a spin around Wincanton, but at least as a former winner of the race we don’t have the rush of getting him qualified.

“He won’t go on to Aintree this year, though – I’ve decided that whatever happens Cheltenham will be his last race.

“He’s 12 now and I’d hate anything to happen to him. I love going to Paul’s and seeing all the old horses there, Cenkos lived there until he died at 23.”

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