Cheltenham Festival Clues – Cross-Country

Big Shu (IRE) Peter Maher

9-y-o (13May05 b g) Milan (13.8f) — Straight ´n Furry (IRE) (Furry Glen (12.8f))

Big Shu supplied something of a shock when taking the Cross-Country at last year’s Festival. Sent off a 14/1 shot, he travelled and jumped like the best horse through the race. Having gone clear two from home, he jumped the last well and stayed on strongly to hold off Shakervilz on the run-in. It is perhaps, no coincidence that his overall form has improved since Barry Cash took over in the saddle. Whilst his win at Punchestown was not as comprehensive (due to the heavy ground), he still managed to grind out the victory. Likely to return to action at Punchestown on the 2 February, he is currently trading around the 6/1 mark for this year’s renewal. Given last year’s Festival performance, that price may not be about long if returns in good form.

Update on 4 March:

Big Shu now trades at a best price 4/1 with William Hill. Cross Country specialist Enda Bolger has trained 4 winners of the Cross Country Chase at the Festival and also boasts four seconds, two thirds and two fourths. Enda Bolger to train the winner – 9/4