Racing: Illustrious company awaits Rooster

There remains an element of romanticism in National Hunt racing and a component is the grey vote, an appreciation of any successful silver horse. In recent times, this congregation has included the great Desert Orchid, Teeton Mill and One Man, while the banner is currently flourished by the Champion Hurdle victor, Rooster Booster.

It is also a badge to Philip Hobbs's gelding that he has proved his skill in relative old age. Nothing gains as much admiration as a creaking hero.

Confirmation came yesterday that the near 10-year-old would be embarking on yet another season at his favourite Prestbury Park premises on Saturday week in the Bula Hurdle. It had been mooted that Rooster Booster would begin his tour in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle last month, but events conspired against.

"The Bula Hurdle is the plan for Rooster Booster," Hobbs said yesterday. "The ground was a bit too quick at Newcastle and also it was going to cause us jockey problems as we knew Richard [Johnson] was going to be at Newbury. It didn't really suit the owner [Terry Warner] as well come to that so it was easier to wait for Cheltenham," Hobbs continued.

Rooster Booster embarked last year on a handicap trail. That avenue is now blocked off and selecting his programme is not a complex problem. "Rooster Booster is now rated 170 and there just aren't the options for him that there were last year - that's the only difference," Hobbs added. "Everything is possible - he improved enormously last year so we hope that he might have done again. But obviously he is getting older."

Rooster Booster got the better of Landing Light in the Bula last year and would join an illustrious band of hurdlers if he can repeat the feat - Comedy Of Errors (1973 and 1974), Birds Nest (1977, 1978 and 1980), Large Action (1994 and 1996) and Relkeel (1997, 1998 and 1999) being the only multiple winners of the race.

Shape was yesterday given to another big race, one tomorrow, when it was announced that Jonjo O'Neill's Keen Leader would make his seasonal reappearance in the Rehearsal Chase at Chepstow.

The well-regarded seven-year-old also holds an entry in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown the following day, but a spokeswoman for Jackdaws Castle confirmed the gelding will head to Wales instead.

One of last season's top novices when he won three of his four completed starts, Keen Leader has not been seen since finishing a disappointing fifth in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at Cheltenham in March.

The decision to go to Chepstow will have the billstickers in action. Keen Leader's presence sets up a fascinating clash of the generations with the 13-year-old veteran See More Business, who seeks a fourth victory in the race.

The John Durkan can just about tolerate the loss of Keen Leader, as there are plenty of other equine celebrities to go around. Tiutchev is one and he will be partnered by a human monolith of the sport in Tony McCoy, who regains the seat on the 10-year-old.

Rodi Greene rode Martin Pipe's gelding on his reappearance over hurdles at Chepstow last month, but McCoy partnered him to his only success last season at Ascot and is hopeful of a big run.

"Two miles to two-and-a-half miles on a right-handed track really suits Tiutchev and he has been one of the top-rated chasers in this country for a number of years," the jockey said. "Beef Or Salmon is obviously a classy rival, but we go there hopeful of a big run."

This will be McCoy's first Durkan mount and Tiutchev will be the first British-trained runner in the race since John Edwards sent over Monsieur Le Cure to finished third to Merry Gale nine years ago.

It is a race that JP McManus has never won - his First Gold was third to Native Upmanship and Rince Ri 12 months ago - but he will be two-handed this time. Frank Berry, McManus's racing manager, said: "The intention is to run Knife Edge as well as Le Coudray."

Willie Mullins, successful with Florida Pearl two years ago, said that neither Adamant Approach nor Killultagh Storm were certain to run, while his brother Tony, who rode Dawn Run to victory in 1985, has ruled out Hennessy Gold Cup sixth Barrow Drive.

* Royal Rosa, winner of a Grade One bumper at Punchestown, looks set to have his first run for his new connections at Sedgefield on Tuesday. The four-year-old was purchased for a record 340,000 guineas at the Doncaster Sales by big-spender Graham Wylie and is now in training with Howard Johnson. "I'd say if the ground is on the soft side I'll run him at Sedgefield," the County Durham-based trainer said.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

Nap: Jolly Giant

(Exeter 2.15)

NB: Sterling Dot Com

(Exeter 3.20)

Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?