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Sean Bowen Cheltenham Preview: Everything is pointing towards a big run

16 Dec 2023
Coral Racing Ambassador, Sean Bowen, gives an exclusive preview of his four rides at Cheltenham on Saturday, including his mount in the December Gold Cup, Thunder Rock.

13:50 Cheltenham – Thunder Rock

I can’t wait to ride Thunder Rock here, and as competitive a race as it is, you’d have to think he goes there with a really good chance. He won well at Carlisle last time on his reappearance, and Mahler Mission who was second that day certainly franked the form when running such a big race in the Coral Gold Cup a few weeks ago.

Even though he won twice, he was probably a bit unlucky last season because he just kept bumping into a really good one, but he has plenty of ability himself, and I think this race will really suit him.

He goes there in great form, and with Joseph’s horse in there, he gets to carry a lovely weight, so everything is pointing towards a big run. There are a couple of nice improving types in the race, but I’d be surprised if our lad isn’t better than a mark of 146 in time, and I really think we go there with a great chance.


14:25 Cheltenham – Back On The Lash

He’s a good horse on his day, but he has been very disappointing on his last few starts. If he could return to the form he was in when winning on the cross-country course here back in January, then he could go well, but I’d say we have a real uphill task here from 9lb out of the handicap.

He does wear cheekpieces for the first time, so hopefully they perk him up a little, but it looks a strong race, and I’d say we’re going there in hope rather than expectation.

15:00 Cheltenham – Genietoile

He ran well when fifth in a maiden hurdle at Chepstow that is working out really well on his reappearance, and he just got tired late on suggesting he’d step forward from it. He was then a bit laboured at Ascot last time, and I had to just keep squeezing him all the way round, but he did come home well, and I do think he’s a nice horse with plenty of ability.

I think going up further in trip here will definitely suit him, and although he has a bit to find in this company, I think he’s a lovely horse for the future, and I’m sure he’ll be winning races before too long.

15:35 Cheltenham – Zestful

She was a nice juvenile last year Zestful, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she gets on this weekend. She just felt like she needed the run when making her seasonal debut at Chepstow back in October, and Martin’s horses were struggling at the time, but the yard seem to be in much better form now.

She was quite keen the last day, so hopefully that run has taken that bit of freshness out of her, and if she does settle a bit better, then I don’t see any reason why she can’t be competitive.


Sean Bowen, Coral Racing Ambassador
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