Racing: Hughes selects Rooster as threat to Hardy Eustace

Two days before Hardy Eustace, the reigning hurdles champion, has his last Festival prep, his trainer Dessie Hughes, surprisingly, has nominated the previous title holder, Rooster Booster, as the main danger at Cheltenham next month. The veteran Co Kildare handler, who knows Prestbury Park better than most - he rode Monksfield to win the Champion Hurdle in 1979 and Davy Lad the Gold Cup two years earlier - is working on the horses-for-courses theory in picking Philip Hobbs's grey rather than any of the massively strong Irish contingent.

"Those that have run well at Cheltenham usually go back and run well again," Hughes said. "I fear Rooster Booster. If he turns up, he'll go close."

Hardy Eustace, who won the Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle at the Festival as a novice, was a 33-1 shot for the senior crown last year; this time he is third favourite, at 6-1, in among five compatriots headed by Harchibald. The eight-year-old was third to two others, Macs Joy and Brave Inca, at Leopardstown 19 days ago and will have the finishing touches added at Gowran tomorrow. "He came out of that last race very well," added Hughes. "He's stronger this year, and more forward."

If a Champion Hurdle dark horse is to emerge, it may be in tomorrow's Totesport Gold Trophy at Newbury. Twenty-seven were declared yesterday for one of the season's hottest betting heats, including six who hold the Cheltenham entry: Royal Shakespeare, the Martin Pipe pair Copeland and Tamarinbleu, and the Irish trio Essex, Power Elite and Al Eile, all priced at 33-1 or longer for the big one.

Michael O'Brien's charge Essex, who has won the Irish Cesarewitch and Pierse Hurdle on his last two runs, has been ante-post favourite for tomorrow, but the gamble of the £125,000 contest has been the Malcolm Jefferson-trained novice Roman Ark, backed from 11-1 to 7-1 yesterday with the sponsors.

* The Jockey Club deal with two hearings in London today. First up is the case of Endless Summer, the colt whose birth date was wrongly registered and so masqueraded as a year too young through his career. Philip Mitchell, manager of Juddmonte Farms, who owned and bred the horse, will face the disciplinary panel. Then David Elsworth appeals against a £1,500 fine over the running of Wavertree Boy at Taunton 10 days ago.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine