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Golantilla camp eyeing Champion Bumper glory at Cheltenham Festival

Leading Irish owner Barry Connell has warned punters not to write off the chances of Golantilla in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

Connell paid £190,000 for the gelding after he landed a point-to-point win in impressive fashion in December 2012 and that looked money well spent when he quickly followed up by taking a Cork bumper by 13 lengths.

Golantilla then signed off last season with a fine third behind Briar Hill and Regal Encore at Cheltenham and hopes are high that he can return to Prestbury Park and put in another big performance.

Although beaten by 16 lengths when second to Willie Mullins' Killultagh Vic on his return to action under Robbie McNamara at Naas recently, Connell is convinced Tony Martin's charge will be much fitter and better suited by conditions at the Festival.

"He hadn't run for a year so was definitely going to come on in terms of fitness, but also the ground at Naas was very heavy down the back," declared Connell. "This horse has a really light, kind of Flat horse's action and will really love decent ground. Robbie said when he got into the straight he picked up and it looked like he was cruising there with two furlongs to go before he just blew up."

Martin is certainly a master at getting his horses ready for the big day, having scored with Ted Veale and Benefficient at Cheltenham last year, and Connell is confident the trainer will have a bit up his sleeve for next Wednesday's feature.

"We took him to work at Leopardstown on trials day last year and some people were disappointed when he finished 10 lengths out the back, but the horse alongside him was Ted Veale and they came out and finished first and third at Cheltenham," added the owner on At The Races.

"Tony is the kind of guy who is just going to peak the horse for the day, but we're happy with him and I think you are going to see a completely different horse over there. He's a six-year-old and we know he handles the track and has a bomb-proof temperament, so we're expecting a huge run from him."

Eight of the last 10 Weatherbys Champion Bumper winners have been trained in Ireland and there will be another strong raiding party travelling over from the Emerald Isle this year.


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Golantilla camp eyeing Champion Bumper glory at Cheltenham Festival

Leading Irish owner Barry Connell has warned punters not to write off the chances of Golantilla in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

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