Enda Bolger will seek a sixth win in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham next month, with Yanworth and Josies Orders in contention following their efforts at Punchestown this week.
Yanworth was third to Neverushacon as the 9-10 favourite on Tuesday – while the veteran Josies Orders, also owned by JP McManus, was one place behind his stablemate.
Twelve-year-old Josies Orders has a tremendous record at Cheltenham, having won four times – including the Festival race in 2016.
Bolger took the inaugural running in 2005 with Spot Thedifference.
He said: “I hope Yanworth and Josies Orders will strip fitter for their runs in Punchestown.
“They’ll know they had a race, so I’d say they’ll have a trip to the beach, and we’ll just freshen them up. Hopefully they’ll travel on the Sunday before Cheltenham – and less is better for them between now and then.”
More attention than ever will be on the cross-country race this year, with Gordon Elliott’s dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll also seeking a third successive victory in the unique event as he completes his Aintree preparation again.
But Bolger believes Tiger Roll could have his work cut out against a challenger from France.
He said: “I think Tiger Roll is made for it again – and then there’s the French horse Easysland, and Might Bite – it’s looking a pretty hot race.
“I think the French horse will be a hard nut to crack, for Tiger Roll.”
Bolger is delighted to see cross-country races becoming ever more competitive.
He said: “The standard of the cross-country races is getting better all the time.
“I’m fortunate Mr McManus runs these horses. He gets a kick out of it as well, and it’s great for these horses that have reached their pinnacle as steeplechasers – this is another way for them.
“It brings on some horses, and some don’t take to it, but I’m just so happy the cross-country races have come back to life again.”