Following a two year break, there’s a chance we could witness a return from Seeyouatmidnight at this year’s Cheltenham Festival! The 12-year-old has been in retirement since April 2018 after entering the Grade 3 Handicap Chase at Aintree, finishing 11th place, with Tiger Roll taking the crown.
Trainer, Sandy Thomson, retired the veteran after he suffered ligament damage following the Grand National. However, he has recently been back in training and Thomson has been very impressed with the progress made. ‘He’s been cantering away since Christmas and has stood up to a bit more work,’ Thomson commented ‘The leg is absolutely fine and if the suspensory goes again it’s not going to be life-threatening. I know the leg well enough to know quickly if something wasn’t right.’
Thomson has his eyes set on entering the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase which takes place on the much anticipated Gold Cup Day. Seeyouatmidnight has previously experienced Cheltenham success, winning first place in the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase during the New Year’s Day Meeting in 2016. He then entered the Cheltenham Festival that same year in the Grade 1 RSA Chase and finished in 7th place, with Blaklion taking the victory.
To prepare for the big day, Thomson has revealed that Seeyouatmidnight will enter at Kelso on 13th February. ‘We’ll take it one step at a time but the dream is Cheltenham and there is the possibility of running in a point-to-point to get qualified for the Foxhunter.’
Entries are still to be confirmed for this year’s Foxhunter Chase but Don Poli is set to enter, having recently won his first victory since 2015 at Alnwick. Of course, last year’s winner, Hazel Hill, will be looking to retain his title this year. Last year’s Foxhunter was a truly gripping race. Road to Rome began with a strong start and took the lead for the majority of the race and it was only during the final hurdle when Hazel Hill came in from the outside and galloped his way to victory.
It will be interesting to see how Seeyouatmidnight fairs against his rivals, having had an almost two-year break. The Cheltenham Festival is certainly full of surprises and it will be exciting to see the veteran come out of retirement for the biggest meeting of the National Hunt Season. At the time of Seeyouatmidnight’s retirement, Thomson labelled him as ‘the horse who put them on the map’. Hopefully we get to witness Seeyouatmidnight race with the same level of vigour as he did pre-retirement and make connections proud once again.