Handicap Chase is Tullamore Dew’s chief Cheltenham target

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Nick Gifford is leaning towards naming the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase as Tullamore Dew’s target at the Cheltenham Festival.

The 10-year-old also holds an entry in the Byrne Group Plate over two miles and five furlongs, but Gifford would prefer to let him take chance in the extended three-mile race as long as the ground is decent.

Tullamore Dew proved he stays the longer distance when he ran a tremendous race last time at Ascot, going down by only a head to Massini’s Maguire.

“At the moment he’s more likely to go for the three-mile handicap,” said Gifford.

“He’s in the Byrne on the Thursday, and in the Festival Chase on the Tuesday which the way the weather is looking at the moment is the favourite.

“I nearly lost my voice at Ascot on the run from the last. He does tick that box now that he stays. “Ascot is a stiff three miles so it gives us another option now and I should think that is more likely where we are going unless there is a sudden downpour before Cheltenham.

“Two miles five on proper soft ground round Cheltenham would be far enough for him.”

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