sport

Quinn pair target the Triumph

John Quinn bids to win the JCB Triumph Hurdle for a second time on Friday and is full of hope for Pearl Castle and Rutherglen.

The Paul Gaffney-owned Pearl Castle has enjoyed a good start to his career over obstacles, with two wins and a third from his first three races.

His two victories both came over the same course and distance at Doncaster this year. The first was an eyecatching 16-length demolition of a large field and the second a battling effort with a 7lb penalty.

Quinn said: "He won in spite of things not going right for him at Doncaster (last time) and it was a good performance under a penalty.

"The ground was quite soft as well, softer than the official going, and if the ground keeps drying this week he'll run really well.

"If it happened to rain and the ground went soft, I wouldn't run him."

Rutherglen, who runs in the ownership of The Beer Swigging Strangers, had looked like the supposed second-string for the Malton yard until recent market support elevated the horse past his stablemate in the betting for Friday's opener.

Since joining the yard in early November, the four-year-old Tiger Hill gelding has won all three of his hurdle starts and added an all-weather success at Kempton over two miles last month.

Quinn said: "He's in good form and has been training nicely. He's very tough and the hustle and bustle of the race won't faze him.

"He's got to improve a bit, but so do a lot of them. I'm very happy with him and I think he'll run well."

Quinn also has a live contender in Tuesday's OLBG Mares' Hurdle in the shape of current second-favourite Cockney Sparrow.

The booking of Tony McCoy is an obvious positive, but the mare will have to be at her very best to dethrone the mighty Quevega, who bids to secure her sixth victory in the race.

Quinn said: "She's in very good form and the drying ground will help her.

"She's never run over two and a half miles before, so it is an experiment, but it's the right race to run her in.

"If she gets the trip I'm sure she'll run a big race."

The only other potential runner for the yard is Calculated Risk who has entries in two of the Festival's handicap hurdles.

Terry Warner's five-year-old landed a Sedgefield handicap over two and a half miles on Boxing Day, and Quinn is hoping a few ahead of him make way so he can take his chance.

He said: "He might get in the Coral Cup and, if he does, he'll run well.

"He's also in the Martin Pipe, and he should get into one of those hopefully. He's in good form."