sport

Rival in Cheltenham hunt

Rival D'Estruval is on course for the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham next month following a midwinter break.

The eight-year-old won two of his three starts in the first half of the season and was second to Bold Sir Brian in the other before being given a holiday.

The Pauline Robson-trained gelding is now being prepared for the amateur riders' four-miler at the Festival.

"He's on track for the four-mile John Oaksey race at Cheltenham so fingers crossed he stays in one piece and we get there," said Robson's assistant, David Parker.

"He goes really well fresh. We purposely gave him a break for this race."

The Robson team are excited about their French import Upsilon Bleu, but have decided not to pitch him in at the deep end at Cheltenham where he held a couple of entries.

"He's fine but he won't be going to Cheltenham. He's settling in fine and just finding his feet," said Parker.

"He'll run in the spring at some stage but we're not quite sure when. He'll run over fences as he's a novice for the rest of the season.

"He's an exciting horse and we're looking forward to him. He's got plenty of form over two miles and I think he'll get two and a half."