Indefatigable in Line for Grade 1 Treble Starting With Cheltenham
Paul Webber’s star mare Indefatigable is in line for a Grade 1 treble this season, starting with the Mares’ or Stayers’ Hurdle races at the Cheltenham Festival.
The nine-year-old mare surged up the infamous hill, blowing past rivals to pip Pileon to the post and land the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle. It was one of the most dramatic Cheltenham Festival wins in recent years, and crowds were left stunned as they eagerly awaited judges to announce the winner.
Indefatigable has continued to demonstrate her class, placing fourth in last year’s Grade 1 Mares’ Hurdle and claiming the Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby this season.
Although she could only manage third at Warwick earlier this month, finishing behind Nicky Henderson’s Marie’s Rock and Dan Skelton’s Get A Tonic, Paul Webber is pressing ahead with his audacious plan.
Paul Webber Eyeing Stayers’ Hurdle for Indefatigable
Paul Webber is gravitating more towards the Stayers’ Hurdle, for which Indefatigable is down as a 66-1 shot. However, many punters will know that the Cheltenham Festival has thrown up some of the biggest upsets in racing history, so this year’s Festival could very well deliver a major shock.
Paul Webber stated that the G2 West Yorkshire Hurdle was good preparation for the Cheltenham Festival. He remains confident in Indefatigable’s ability to pull off a fine performance at Prestbury Park next month.
Webber said in a Racing Post interview:
The Wetherby outing has put her spot on for her date with the Cheltenham Festival.
She probably found Warwick a bit too sharp and needs a bit further, so we’re leaning towards the Stayers’ Hurdle.
The Stayers’ Hurdle is run on the New Course over 2 miles and 7 furlongs, whereas the Mares’ Hurdle is run on the Old Course over a distance of 2 miles and 3 furlongs.
Webber said he is also monitoring the going report as Indefatigable runs well on good ground, adding, “the trip may be more important for her on the much longer New course.”
Besides the Cheltenham Festival, Paul Webber is also eyeing the Mares’ Champion Hurdle or Champion Stayers’ Hurdle at Punchestown and Queen Alexandra or Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot.
A trip to Royal Ascot was on the cards for Indefatigable last season, but plans were shelved as Webber thought she wasn’t quite ready and deserved a break instead.
A win at Ascot would see Webber achieve his third victory at the Royal Meeting, with his last success dating back to 2007. Full House chased the leaders on the straight and emerged at the front of the pack with 2 furlongs to go, pressing strongly on the final furlong to claim the Ascot Stakes.
Paul Webber is keen to have Indefatigable run on the Flat this year, stating that “she only needs one more run to achieve the handicap mark to enter the Ascot Stakes.”
Former Irish jockey and Prolific Cheltenham Festival winner Ruby Walsh has also given Indefatigable high praise, describing her as a “hard horse to beat” ahead of her run at Warwick last month.