sport

O'Neill sweet on Seuil

Jonjo O'Neill feels Taquin Du Seuil represents his best chance of success at this year's Cheltenham Festival.

The seven-year-old is set to face his old adversary Oscar Whisky in the JLT Novices' Chase on March 13 and the score is currently one each between the pair.

O'Neill expects the virtually guaranteed fast pace will suit his charge.

"He will get a proper gallop in the JLT. Obviously, there is not much between Oscar Whisky and Taquin Du Seuil," O'Neill said at a press day at his Jackdaws Castle stables.

"Oscar would have more pace but Taquin is a good horse and, as long as the ground does not dry out too much, he will run well. He is best on soft ground, though I will run him on good ground.

"I know he likes a good pace in his races and I could not have him in better shape - he is in really good form.

O'Neill sees Goodwood Mirage as a contender for the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle if he handles the undulations.

"If Goodwood Mirage acts on the track, he will run a cracker. I am worried about him coming down the hill because he has a floating chip in his joint - some days it is grand, other days it is not. That and he wants gelding," he said.

"He goes for the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle and ran well at Kempton on Saturday. He runs very free early on - he is not the easiest but he stays well. I would have preferred going for the JCB Triumph Hurdle but he is not good enough for that.

"I don't have a real headline horse but, touch wood, the horses are in grand form and you hope that they will perform on the day. I am very happy with Taquin De Seuil - he does excite me.

"He might not have shown it as much on the track as he does at home but, if he gets the opportunity, a good gallop and jumps well, he will make them go."