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Urban Hymn camp hoping for better ground at Cheltenham Festival

Malcolm Jefferson believes Urban Hymn can still make his presence felt in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle despite only just scraping home at Doncaster in his final prep race before the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

The six-year-old was rated by many shrewd pundits as a dark horse for Prestbury Park success after following up a Huntingdon bumper win and second-placed finish to the more experienced Spirit Of Shankly on his hurdling bow by romping home by 20 lengths at Haydock towards the end of December.

Runner-up that day was Algernon Pazham, who had previously scored at Leicester for Nigel Twiston-Davies, and onlookers could not fail to be impressed with the relentless gallop he produced to draw further and further away.

Urban Hymn was then given a much harder work-out at Doncaster, though, with his jumping far from fluent and Sue Smith's Blakemount getting his nose in front after the last before a late rally under Brian Hughes won the day by the narrowest of margins.

However, Jefferson is not unduly concerned by that scare and feels an improvement in the weather between now and Cheltenham would do his charge no harm, with sons of Robin Des Champs generally being known to act on good going.

"The plan is, as long as everything keeps going right, to go to the Festival as long as it's half-decent ground, as I think he'll be a better horse on better ground," said the trainer. "It poured down just before the race and got very sloppy at Donny, but he's very genuine and I think he'll be even better on a sounder surface." 

Tindari was the first Cheltenham winner for Jefferson in 1994 and the following year he became the first English handler to win the Champion Bumper with Dato Star, while in 2012 the stable claimed a notable Festival double as Cape Tribulation and Attaglance both won at Prestbury Park.


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Urban Hymn camp hoping for better ground at Cheltenham Festival

Malcolm Jefferson believes Urban Hymn can still make his presence felt in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle despite only just scraping home at Doncaster in his final prep race before the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

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