Racing: Maamur and Martha's please Forster

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The Independent Online
The laconic Tim Forster showed as much enthusiasm as he ever does after his Queen Mother Champion Chase contender, Martha's Son, put the trauma of his recent Kempton fall behind him with a schooling exercise at Bangor yesterday. He was accompanied by Maamur, himself warming up for Prestbury Park,

"I'm delighted with the way the schooling went for both horses," Forster said. "It's probable that Maamur will go for the same race he won last year (now the Aztec Buzz Shop NH Handicap Chase) although he really needs it soft."

However, there was disappointment in Malton as Simply Dashing will miss the Festival for the second successive year after working badly. The Tim Easterby-trained gelding holds entries in the Arkle Trophy and the Cathcart Chase but has been ruled out of both. Last year, Simply Dashing missed the Sun Alliance Novices' Hurdle after bruising a foot.

Another Malton-based trainer, Jimmy FitzGerald, faces a race to get his Supreme Novices' Hurdle contender Alzulu fit to make the line-up. The triple winner had a birch splinter embedded in a joint after scoring at Newcastle 19 days ago and, although successfully treated since, the leg has now flared up again. He has a 60-40 chance of running FitzGerald said.

Across Yorkshire at Middleham, Micky Hammond announced he is unlikely to have any runners at the Festival due to an outbreak of equine herpes in his stable.