Leading contender Hip Hop Conti will swerve cross-country challenge

21 February 2023

French ace advertised his emerging star status at the weekend.

Hip Hop Conti will skip the Cheltenham Festival despite the French cross-country specialist enhancing his reputation in a Pau Listed event on Sunday.

As short as 7-1 for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, many envisaged the Emmanuel Clayeux-trained six-year-old would attempt to replicate the exploits of Easysland, who lowered the colours of the great Tiger Roll when triumphing for France in the Festival’s most unique contest in 2020.

However, Clayeux is keen to give the son of Lauro plenty of rest following his exertions in the Prix Gaston De Batatille at the weekend, which means embarking on a raiding mission to Prestbury Park is on hold for the time being.

“I’m very happy because I thought he was a bit young for the distance, but he is clearly better than I thought,” said Clayeux.

“The race was run really quick and he didn’t jump very well at the beginning, but he got better and better and finished very quick.”

Explaining the reasoning for missing Cheltenham, he added: “It will come too soon because he had a very hard race.

“He will now come back in October for the next meeting at Pau and not before. He should be better next year.”


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