Rocco misses Festival after below-par Kempton run

Gifford chaser may yet make Aintree’s Topham Chase

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Glen Rocco will sit out the Cheltenham Festival after his slightly disappointing run in the 888Sport Handicap Chase at Kempton.

The eight-year-old, part-owned by TV host Jeremy Kyle, was sent off 4-1 favourite for the valuable contest last month, but could finish only sixth to Walt.

He had returned to Kempton on the back of two good runs there, but failed to fire and was quiet afterwards.

“He didn’t come back 100 per cent from Kempton, so Cheltenham is going to come too soon for him,” said trainer Nick Gifford.

“We’ve had him checked over, and he appears to be fine, but Cheltenham will come too soon.”

After scratching Glen Rocco on Monday from all four entries he held at the Festival, Gifford will look at the possibility of giving him just one more run this season.

The race the Findon handler has in mind is the Randox Health Topham Chase at Aintree next month. Should that not materialise then Glen Rocco will be put away for the summer and be aimed at the Grand National in 2020.

“Hopefully we might get him back for Aintree and the Topham. We’ll see,” said Gifford.

“We’ll just tick away with him now. If we can get him to Aintree we will – if not we’ll put him away for the season.

“It’s all about trying to get him into the National next year, hopefully. We won’t take any risks with him this season.”

Rocco misses Festival after below-par Kempton run
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