French trainer Emmanuel Clayeux is planning to upstage Tiger Roll and Easysland with a three-horse raid on the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Two of the Vaumas-based handler’s hopefuls, Diesel D’Allier and Urgent De Gregaine, were first and second respectively over the course and distance in November – while Arelquin D’Allier would be making his first appearance at the Prestbury Park circuit.
Urgent De Gregaine has a fine record in next month’s race, having finished second and then third to Tiger Roll in the previous two years.
“He’s in very good form,” Clayeux told Sky Sports Racing.
“He’s younger and younger in his head. I think this is probably his last season – he’s 12 years old even if he is in good form.
“He knows Cheltenham, so he should run well. I hope he will beat Tiger Roll this year – and Easysland.
“We will see. I am very excited. My bag is already ready.”
Clayeux believes Diesel D’Allier’s experience at Cheltenham will stand him in good stead but admits it will be more difficult for the seven-year-old – because he was receiving 22lb from his stablemate when successful there earlier in the season.
“He won there, but he carried a very low weight,” added the trainer.
“He’s not a big horse, so I think that will be the problem – because 72 kilos is a bit heavy for him – but we will see.
“He knows the track, so that is why he will go in Cheltenham.”
Clayeux warns Arlequin D’Allier, a winner at Pau last month, should not be underestimated either.
“He won a good handicap in Pau,” he said.
“I don’t think he has the level for Auteuil – (but) I want to try Cheltenham, because he likes soft ground and a long distance.
“He is a good horse.”