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Jamie Snowden: “We’ve had a great season”
By James Burn, Lambourn correspond
Jamie Snowden watched his Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle dark horse Milldam stretch his legs on the Lambourn gallops on Friday morning and is gripped by the excitement of the Cheltenham Festival, although he did not let himself get carried away given the presence of a Willie Mullins talking horse in that race.
Owned by Neil Goulden and Kevin and Sue Hopgood, the French import was bought by Snowden’s wife Lucy for €145,000 last year.
He has yet to make his debut for the stable, but that will come at Cheltenham on Tuesday and he looked in superb order when exercising on Friday.
The gray is 25-1 for the Boodles, which used to be known as the Fred Winter, although his chances are complicated by the presence of the Mullins-trained Gaelic Warrior, the 9-4 favorite who has been the subject of some hype in recent weeks.
Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle: entries and betting
“He ran twice in the provinces and was not beaten far when third at Auteuil last time,” Snowden said. “That race has worked out and we gave him a break when he came over with this race in mind as he’s rated 125. He’s pleased me and if he doesn’t win, he’s a decent novice hurdler for next season.
“He had a rating of 61kg in France and they used to multiply that by 2.2 to get a British rating [which would be 134.2]. On that basis he’s nicely handicapped, but then Willie Mullins has one in there rated 129 and he’s potentially very well handicapped! Mine is a really nice horse though.”
On that maths, Gaelic Warrior would come out on 138.6, but Milldam is not the only horse Snowden is relishing running on Tuesday as Kiltealy Briggs has claims in the Ultima, which his owner Max McNeill sponsors.
The recent Musselburgh winner, who was third to the top-class pair Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor in Kempton’s Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Christmas, ranges from 14-1 to 20-1 for that.
Kiltealy Briggs edging ahead at Musselburgh last time
John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
“He’s in cracking form, great order,” the 42-year-old added. “He’s moving well, working well and jumping well.
“It’s been the plan for a while and he ran well in the Plate last season, while going up to three miles again should suit as he’s out of a sister to Ballabriggs, who won the National a few years ago.
“He’s exciting. He ran in a bog at Sandown last season and it kind of pulled him apart, but he’s bigger and stronger now. He had two colic operations after running in the Albert Bartlett in 2020, so didn’t really have a summer then and we ran him only four times last season, but he’s really come to himself as a second-season novice this term.”
Snowden, who was a festival winner in 2014 when Present View won the novice handicap chase that no longer exists, added: “Frodo keeping the Ultima weights down means he’s at the right end of them, but he’s got to step forward. He’s got a similar profile to Present View as an unexposed, improving novice while we run Stoney Mountain in the Pertemps on Thursday.
“He’s won off 138 and he’s running off 139, so he can win off his handicap mark but whether he’s got 20lb in hand is another matter.”
Snowden is three winners off matching his best campaign, which came with 46 in 2019-20.
“Cheltenham is the pinnacle and we were so lucky to have a winner with our third runner at the festival and thought it was easy,” he went on.
“It’s not. It’s tricky, so to go there with chances is great, but the bread and butter is important, and we’ve had 43 winners and passed our previous best campaign in terms of prize-money. It’s been a great season, but a festival winner would be the icing on the cake. It is the dream.”
Read more Cheltenham Festival stories:
‘The horses are flying’ – Gordon Elliott talks up ‘savage’ team for Cheltenham
‘He’s my festival banker’ – David Jennings and Paul Kealy answer your questions
‘That doesn’t make him a banker in my book’ – Nicky Henderson’s Cheltenham views
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