sport

Boy chasing Grade One double

Rebecca Curtis is confident O'Faolains Boy remains at the top of his game ahead of the Betfred Mobile Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree.

Rebecca Curtis is confident Cheltenham Festival hero O'Faolains Boy remains at the top of his game ahead of the Betfred Mobile Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree on Friday.

The seven-year-old stayed on determinedly up the Prestbury Park hill to deny Smad Place in an RSA Chase thriller last month, prevailing by a neck in the hands of Barry Geraghty in what is notoriously a tough race for novice chasers.

He turns out a little over three weeks later on Merseyside and his trainer insists her gelding's homework suggests his Cheltenham exertions have not taken their toll.

Curtis said: "He came out of his Cheltenham race really well - he seems nice and fresh.

"It's always at the back of your mind, how much the Cheltenham race has taken out of him, and you never really know until they race again, but he's not acting like a tired horse at home anyway.

"He showed at Cheltenham what he can do and hopefully he'll run another big race.

"I wouldn't mind a drop of rain, which I think is forecast."

The Oliver Sherwood-trained Many Clouds ran a fine second behind O'Faolains Boy in the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot in February, conceding weight, but was brought down by Don Cossack in the RSA.

Sherwood said: "He's been fine since Cheltenham and seems in great order at the moment.

"It was boring what happened at Cheltenham, but those things can happen and it might actually work in our favour, as he ended up hardly having a race.

"O'Faolains Boy franked the Reynoldstown form by winning the RSA and we were giving him 4lb at Ascot.

"Our horse has schooled a couple of times since and hasn't missed a day, so we're happy.

"I wouldn't mind a drop of rain, but I think they're going to get that.

"He's entitled to be in the field and we'll see what happens."

Don Cossack also reopposes in this three-mile-one-furlong Grade One contest.

His trainer, Gordon Elliott, said: "He seems in good form and has done plenty of schooling since Cheltenham.

"It's a competitive race, but we're hoping he can run well.

"The ground should be fine for him."

O'Faolains Boy is not the only Cheltenham winner in the field, with Jonjo O'Neill saddling Festival handicap winner Holywell, with Tony McCoy taking over in the saddle from Richie McLernon.

Paul Nicholls runs RSA Chase seventh Just A Par and JLT Novices' Chase fifth Wonderful Charm, ridden by Nick Scholfield and Sam Twiston-Davies respectively.