Gold Tweet leading two-pronged French raid on Stayers’ Hurdle
2 March 2023
Cleeve Hurdle winner to be joined by Auteuil victor Henri Le Farceur.
France will have two runners in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in two weeks, with both Gold Tweet and Henri Le Farceur set to be supplemented for the race.
The Gabriel Leenders-trained Gold Tweet has already shown his ability to British racegoers, winning the Cleeve Hurdle at the track in impressive fashion in January.
He will be joined by Henri Le Farceur, winner of a Grade Two at Auteuil on his last run in December and trained by Hugo Merienne.
Gold Tweet had three lengths to spare over Dashel Drasher in the Cleeve and is a general 8-1 shot for the March 16 showpiece.
Leenders feels he will have no excuses, whatever the pace of the race.
He said: “We are ready to run in the big race. He is relaxed and prepared. He will have some work on Saturday and then a gallop on the grass on Wednesday and then he will be ready.
“He jumps fast and is a very strong horse. He is not a big horse, but he is very strong. If we follow, he has a fast finish, which is perfect in an English race.
“If the race is fast, it is no problem. If the race is steady, it is no problem. He will relax and have enough to finish.”
With the exciting Noel George-trained unbeaten hurdler Il Est Francais looking poised to run in Britain next term, there could soon be a French invasion to mirror those great raids by Francois Doumen a few years ago.
The shoots of a truly international Festival are already beginning to flourish and Leenders added there is plenty of expectation across the English Channel.
“Everybody is excited, I think a lot of French people will come to the Festival and follow him, because it is very exciting for France,” he added.
Henri Le Farceur is another intriguing runner for the three-mile contest on March 16.
The six-year-old has won four of his 17 starts for Merienne, who said: “He is a nice horse. He will like the extra distance and I think he will like the track.
“Let’s have a try – it is a challenge, but we will see. We need to come and improve out knowledge for the future as well.
“He had a long year last year and we gave him a few weeks off.
“A lot of young French trainers who have worked in Ireland and England have come to Cheltenham to watch as a visitor. It is a bit of a dream for us to come here – it is like the World Cup, so let’s try.”
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