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Bryan Cooper: I think there is a lot of improvement in him


Bryan Cooper: I think there is a lot of improvement in him

Bryan Cooper: I think there is a lot of improvement in him

1.50pm Cheltenham

Shanahan’s Turn

He was a very smart horse on his day when trained by Henry [de Bromhead] in Ireland, winning the Florida Pearl in 2014 and then bolting up off a mark of 142 in the Galway Plate in 2015. He has lost his way since and has his first start for the best part of 18 months here, as well as his initial outing for Colin. The handicapper has certainly given him a fair chance, dropping him 10lb since he last ran, so he is certainly weighted to go well. The trip is an obvious question mark, as all his form in Ireland was over a lot further, but he is certainly a very interesting contender off this mark. I rode him at Colin’s on Tuesday and he seemed well after his long break.

2.25pm Cheltenham

Finian’s Oscar

Obviously, I wasn’t on board him in his novice hurdle campaign last season. But you didn’t have to be sitting on him to see what a top-class prospect he was when winning the Grade 1 at Aintree and then just getting touched off at Punchestown. A few people were questioning his performance in winning on his chasing debut at Chepstow, but I was more than happy. Sure, he may have looked a bit slow and deliberate in the early stages, but he skidded and slipped going into the third and I was at pains to bring him steadily into the race thereafter. They were going a 2m pace there, anyway, and he was a gear out of his comfort zone early on. He jumped much better as the race went on, and when I gave him a squeeze after the last he pulled clear and told me there was plenty left in the tank. In fact, I was very impressed. It was like changing gears in a Ferrari. That will have hopefully taught him a lot but I will admit he has no easy task on here with his 8lb penalty, for all he is a top-notch prospect, against the likes of Movewiththetimes, William Henry and Coo Star Sivola. He schooled really well for me on Tuesday.

3.35pm Cheltenham

Vision Des Flos

He was bought for a lot of money after winning his bumper at Punchestown in April and that looks a hot race. The winner and fourth haven’t been out since, but the third of Joseph’s has won his two since, the fifth won his next start and the sixth was only just touched off on his only subsequent outing. And you had to be very encouraged by the way he shaped for me when third in the Persian War on his debut over hurdles, and for Colin, at Chepstow last month. I thought it was a fantastic run and that experience will have done him the world of good – mentally as much as anything, considering he didn’t run in points – and I think there is a lot of improvement in him.

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