Voler to miss Cheltenham
Colm Murphy mare set to swerve trip to UK
Last Updated: 11/02/11 3:57pm
Voler La Vedette (near side): Misses Cheltenham
Voler La Vedette will not run in the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival regardless of how she runs in the Ladbrokes.com Boyne Hurdle at Navan on Sunday.
The talented mare filled third place in last-year's renewal, however Murphy is keen to head to the Punchestown Festival in May instead.
Murphy said: "We've decided not to go to Cheltenham with her this time.
"She got a little bit revved-up over there last year so we'll stay at home and I'd imagine she'll end up at Punchestown."
Voler La Vedette won as she liked on her seasonal reappearance at Punchestown in October but has since found life tougher against the likes of Solwhit and Hurricane Fly.
She steps down in class, but back up in trip, this weekend, and Murphy expects a good run.
"It's a step up to two miles and five (furlongs) but hopefully she'll handle it all right and she won't mind the heavy ground," said Murphy.
"She seemed to stay two and a half miles well in the Hatton's Grace and if she runs like that, she should go well on Sunday."
Perhaps the biggest rival to Voler La Vedette is the Paul Nolan-trained Shinrock Paddy.
The seven-year-old gelding won in style on his latest appearance at Naas, but Nolan is wary of the threat posed by Murphy's mare.
"The trip looks ideal for him and he's won on the track before," said Nolan.
"On ratings you'd have to say Voler La Vedette will take a lot of beating and she looked to run a very good race in the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse.
"A repeat of that performance would see her very hard to beat, but our fellow is in good form and very rarely runs a bad race.
"The ground won't be an issue for him, either."
Another interesting contender is Berties Dream, who gave his trainer Paul Gilligan a memorable first Cheltenham Festival success in last season's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.
However, he has been largely disappointing over fences this season and Gilligan hopes a switch back to the smaller obstacles will turn around his fortunes.
"We hope to run him, but I am still a bit concerned that some of my horses are just not right," said the trainer.
"They had a cough and it has taken them a while to shake it off, but he worked on Tuesday and I was well happy with him.
"He will love the underfoot conditions and the further he goes the better.
"After Sunday, he'll go for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
"We have decided that he won't go back over fences until next season, so all those races over two and a half miles plus is what he'll go for."