Coyle confident his stable star will 'Flicka' back into life at Festival

Coyle confident his stable star will 'Flicka' back into life at Festival

Coyle confident his stable star will 'Flicka' back into life at Festival

First published in Sport

TONY COYLE is hoping Son Of Flicka can serve up a repeat performance in the Coral Cup at next month’s Cheltenham Fesitval.

The Norton trainer is aiming to saddle the ten-year-old in the hugely competitive handicap on Wednesday, March 12 – knowing his handicapper has the highest credentials at the five-day National Hunt showpiece meeting.

Son Of Flicka won the Coral Cup two years ago as a 16-1 shot for then trainer Donald McCain and jockey Jason Maguire.

The gelding stunned joint-favourite Get Me Out Of Here by three-and-a-half lengths but that was his last victory on the track.

Now in Coyle’s hands, and off the same mark as he was when victorious in the two-mile five-furlong charge, the Highfield-based trainer is optimistic of another strong display.

“He’s rated 135 and we’ve just been running him over fences – just to look after his mark,” Coyle said. “He needs good ground.

“I’d be afraid to run him over hurdles just in case he did run badly in a handicap and then they dropped him and he didn’t get in.

“We’ve just kept him ticking over with fences.”

He added: “If Son Of Flicka finishes in the first four or five it would be brilliant.”

Coyle is also targeting Lucky Landing, a winner at Wetherby on his last outing last October, in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase and he said of the eight-year-old: “If Lucky Landing went there and finished in the first six it would be a great run. It’s nice to go down there with two runners. I know they are two tough handicaps but they are entitled to go down there. They won’t be just making up the numbers.

“The Coral Cup is a beast of a race but they are tough, hardened handicappers. You never know.

“The two of them will need good ground. If it is soft ground they won’t be going anywhere.

“It’s not a concern (that it is wet down there). It will soon dry up. If you get five days of good weather it will dry. I am not panicking yet.”

He added: “Lucky Landing has been a hell of a good horse to us.

“He won two £10,000 handicaps and he won at Wetherby last time when we didn’t fancy him because the ground went soft. He still won. Noel Fehily gave him a super ride.”

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