Noel Meade charge Very Wood in fine fettle

Very Wood Horse Racing

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Previous Cheltenham Festival winner Very Wood looks in good shape ahead of this year’s big meeting after an encouraging success in the Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan on Sunday.

The Bryan Cooper-ridden horse, sent off a 13/2 chance, overcame his five rivals in Ireland to triumph and appears to have put his poor early-season form behind him.

Very Wood eventually galloped clear of favourite Noble Emperor in testing conditions and is now expected to be primed for the National Hunt Chase on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival, on March 10.

Cooper was pleased with Very Wood’s display at Navan and believes he is now getting back to his best as he looks to repeat his winning run around Prestbury Park when he claimed the Albert Bartlett last year.

“We were in a lovely rhythm and he jumped great,” he said. “He’d be a hell of a ride in the four-miler if he goes that way. He really gave me a great feel and it’s been a hell of a job by (trainer) Noel (Meade)to get him back.”

Trainer Meade was also predictably pleased with the six-year-old’s run and hopes he can now deliver at The Festival again next month.

He said: “I don’t know what was wrong with him. He can be a bit funny at home, but he has started looking better recently and felt better.

“He’s a Cheltenham winner so he has to go back if he’s all right. My initial reaction is to go for the four-miler (National Hunt Chase).

“He proved himself last year and three miles isn’t really a problem – he ran up the hill at Cheltenham like he was going round the first time when he won the Albert Bartlett.”

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