Hill still on track to defend Cheltenham title

Muscle strain explains Foxhunter champion’s Wetherby performance.

  • Wednesday 12 February
  • News
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Hazel Hill remains on course to defend his title in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Phil Rowley’s evergreen was found to have a slight muscle strain when beaten by 2017 Gold Cup runner-up Minella Rocco in a hunter chase at Wetherby this month.

However, it has not cost him any work – and all roads still point back to Cheltenham.

“I am pleased to report that Hazel Hill is well and still on track for Cheltenham,” said the 12-year-old’s Bridgnorth-based trainer Rowley.

“We must not forget that he was beaten by a very good horse who has clearly found his mojo again, carrying 4lb less.

“Hazel Hill came up outside the wings at the open ditch and jumped right from there on, and the physio has found a slight muscle strain – which has been easily resolved and would explain his jumping.

“He has missed no work – so his programme will continue on schedule, and everything is very positive.”

Hill still on track to defend Cheltenham title
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