Trainer Keiran Burke could enter three Festival runners

Keiran Burke could cap his first full season as a trainer by having three runners at the Cheltenham Festival.

The former jump jockey, who took over the reins when Somerset handler Pat Rodford retired, has made a tremendous start to his new career, highlighted by Hunt Ball.

The vastly-improved performer, plus Holmwood Legend and Fortification, are being aimed at the big meeting.

Hunt Ball started the campaign on a mark of 69 and he made it six wins from seven starts when winning off 127 at Kempton on Saturday.

He has entries in the Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase, although he may now be too highly rated to run, and the Byrne Group Plate.

The latter race is the target of last year’s winner Holmwood Legend, who was ridden by Burke, while Fortification is being aimed at the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase.

“We’ve only got 10 horses and we could have three runners at Cheltenham. Hunt Ball has two entries and Holmwood Legend is going to come back for the Byrne Group Plate,” said Burke.

“Then Fortification is going to have a go at the cross country.”

Sparky May, on whom Burke enjoyed great success as a rider, was retired to the paddocks after sustaining a leg injury has been covered by Milan.

“Sparky May’s fine. She has gone to stud to Milan and we’re waiting to hear news,” he added.