Cheltenham Gold Cup: Richie McLernon set to ride Holywell

Holywell won at the Aintree Grand National meeting in 2014
Holywell won at the Aintree Grand National meeting in 2014

Jockey Richie McLernon will renew his partnership with Holywell in the Cheltenham Gold Cup after AP McCoy was lined up for Carlingford Lough.

McLernon has twice ridden the horse, trained by Jonjo O'Neill, to victory at the Cheltenham Festival, and will seek a treble in the big race on 13 March.

"I've no reason not to put him on as he's done a good job on him and they click well together," O'Neill said.

Holywell is about 8-1 fourth favourite behind market leader Silviniaco Conti.

In other news as the course held a news conference before the Festival, which takes place from 10 to 13 March:

  • Clerk of the course Simon Claisse described the current going as a mixture of good to soft ground, with an inch (25mm) of rain expected before the meeting starts.
  • Leading novice chaser Coneygree (12-1) will only run in the Gold Cup if the going is soft, with the RSA Chase an alternative.
  • Trainer Harry Fry said Noel Fehily is doubtful to partner World Hurdle contender Rock On Ruby. Fehily, who has ridden the 2012 Champion Hurdle winner in his last 14 races, is set to ride Zarkandar for Paul Nicholls. McCoy is among potential replacements.
  • Aurore D'Estruval has been ruled out of the Mares' Hurdle by trainer John Quinn after suffering a setback.
  • As weights for 11 handicap races were announced, handicapper Graeme Smith said two horses had caused headaches: "Quick Jack's (Coral Cup, County Hurdle, Martin Pipe) profile makes him one of the most intriguing horses at the Festival, while Brother Brian (Pertemps, Coral Cup) is well in, if the figures of his form from the Relkeel Hurdle can be trusted."
Cheltenham Festival 2015
Dates: Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 March. Big races: Tue - Champion Hurdle, Wed - Champion Chase, Thur - World Hurdle, Fri - Gold Cup.Coverage: Every race on BBC Radio 5 live or 5 Live Sports extra

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