NEWS PREVIEW

Coneygree 'on target' for Kerry National at Listowel

The 10-year-old became the first novice in 41 years to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2015, but injuries have restricted him to just three competitive starts since then.
However, he ran a magnificent race in defeat when a close third in the Punchestown Gold Cup in April and though plans for a racecourse gallop this week have been shelved, connections could not be happier with his condition ahead of his return to action in a fortnight's time.
Sara Bradstock, wife of trainer Mark, told Press Association Sport: " We're very happy with him and with two weeks to go, we're on target for Listowel.
"We were going to take him to Worcester for a gallop, but the ground was too firm. We've set up a few fences on the all-weather here at home and we'll just have to do that. I don't think we'll get him away (for a gallop) now.
"He'll have plenty of work done, though. It is very much preparation for the season and I'm sure he'll improve, but at the same time he'll be fit enough to do himself justice.
"All being well, Nico (de Boinville) will ride him."
Coneygree will almost certainly have to carry top weight in the feature event on day four of the seven-day Harvest Festival, but that is not seen as a major concern.
"The weight won't bother him. I think he's carried 11st 10lb for every run since he was a novice hurdler," said Bradstock.
"The one question is whether horses carrying 10st will find it easier to lay up with him.
"Common sense tells you they won't and he should actually find it easier, but you still want to see him go and do it and then we'll know whether he can try and do the same in the Hennessy (Ladbrokes Gold Cup, Newbury).
"We're planning to take him a day earlier than we took him to Punchestown, just because he's got that bit further to go.
"He'll head out on the Sunday afternoon, be in Wexford on the Monday morning and go on to Listowel from there.
"One of the great things about Punchestown was it showed us that the travelling doesn't bother him. Very little bothers him, to be honest."

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