James Ewart has never had a runner at the Cheltenham Festival despite seven years as a trainer, but he remains hopeful that one of the two horses he will saddle this year will take their place in the winners’ enclosure.
Aikman currently holds entries in five of the novice hurdle contests, while Captain Americo is set to take his chance in the National Hunt Chase.
The Neptune Novices’ Hurdle or the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle seem the most likely for the former, although he is also entered in the Martin Pipe Handicap, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Coral Cup.
Aikman is currently 12/1 in the Cheltenham betting for the Albert Bartlett Hurdle, while he is 16/1 in the Neptune Novices’ odds.
The seven-year-old has never finished outside of the first three in any race that he has completed, while he heads to Cheltenham on a two-race winning streak.
Meanwhile, Captain Americo is 33/1 to win the National Hunt Chase and the step up to four miles could suit, based on his performance at Wetherby last month, when finishing third behind Wayward Prince.
Ewart said: “Cheltenham is a very special place and you only go there when you believe you have something you have a chance with.
“This year we will have two. We are only going there with Aikman and Captain Americo because they truly represent the best chances we’ve ever have had of a runner with potential to be placed or even possibly win a race.”
Prior to his run at Wetherby, Captain Americo was all out to land a beginners’ chase at Newcastle at the start of January, when successfully staying on over three miles on soft ground.
A £25 stake on Aikman winning the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle would return £300. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.