He’s “everything you would want in a chaser”. Those were the words Noel Meade used to describe Apache Stronghold as he guided Ladbrokes through a quartet of his Cheltenham Festival battalion.
Describing the son of Milan in such high praise was a testament as to the high regard he holds the horse in.
Currently a 5/1 shot for the JLT Novices’ Chase, the seven-year-old would need to reverse the hurdles form with Vautour.
However his handler is very pleased with how his horse has been coping at the very top level…
Competing in Grade 1s has always been the target for another of Meade’s charges especially after Road to Riches landed the Galway Plate last summer.
An 8/1 chance for the Gold Cup, the Gigginstown-owned horse has gone from strength to strength over the winter, winning the JNWine.com Champion Chase, before finishing a very respectable runner up in the Lexus Chase.
And while he professes that Silviniaco Conti is still the one to beat, going into the Festival showpiece fresh will show his gelding in his best light…
Two other Tu Va Stables inmates that will be carrying the maroon silks of Gigginstown at Prestbury Park are Very Wood and Wounded Warrior.
It appears one will go for the RSA Chase and the other take in the National Hunt Chase over 4m, a decision as to which way round they will line up remains to be made.
The decision though, will come down to the pair’s owners with the weather holding a big say in matters….
With just one chase win at the Festival to his name, compared to three over hurdles, Meade will certainly be hoping that just year’s batch of chasers can thrive over the larger obstacles.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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