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CHELTENHAM 2018: O'Neill to team-up with Fagan in 4 miler

CHELTENHAM 2018: O'Neill to team-up with Fagan in 4 miler

Last season’s Champion point-to-point rider, Barry O’Neill, leads the way in this year’s title race, and he will be hoping to convert his good domestic form of late to a first success at the Cheltenham Festival next week.

O’Neill, who is a Graded winning jockey in Ireland, currently has three confirmed rides during the week beginning with the Gordon Elliot-trained Fagan.
 
The eight-year-old grey gelding, a three-times previous points winner at the beginning of his career, has Festival form to his name having finished second, beaten just a length and a-quarter under Davy Russell by Unowwhatimeanharry in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2016. 
 
Lightly raced since then, the Fair Mix gelding, who is owned by Ronnie Bartlett, a great support of point-to-point’s, particularly in Northern Ireland, has chasing experience around Prestbury Park, having chased home Black Corton, a leading fancy for the RSA Chase, in October.
 
O’Neill’s two other mounts at Cheltenham look set to come for British based trainers as he will team up with David Dennis in the Kim Muir Chase on Thursday.
 
Welsh National-third, Final Nudge, will be his mount in the 3m2f handicap chase, for which the nine-year-old, who also holds an entry in the Aintree Grand National, is a 20/1 shot.
 
Colin Tizzard who has many leading fancies for the Festival, has booked O’Neill for his charge, Grand Vision in the St. James Place Foxhunters on Friday. 
 
The 12-year-old has not followed a conventional path to one of the leading hunter chases of the season, as he has only run in two handicap chases this term, chasing home Daklondike in the Mandarin Chase at Newbury over Christmas, before winning at Wincanton last month.
 
Grand Vision, who has appeared at four previous Cheltenham Festivals, is a 16/1 shot for the Foxhunters.
 

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