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Morgan excited by Paddy Power duo

3 minute read

Laura Morgan is relishing saddling two live contenders in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Trainer : Laura Morgan.
Trainer : Laura Morgan. Picture: Mike Egerton- PA

Laura Morgan, who enjoyed a career-best season with forty winners last year, looks to have two live chances in the feature premier handicap chase at Cheltenham this weekend, with both Notlongtillmay and Whistleinthedark reportedly in good form heading into the assignment.

Whilst Morgan enjoyed a fine campaign last year, the Waltham On The Wolds handler said she's unlikely to reach those heights this season, with the upcoming trainer attempting to add more quality to her string.

She said: "Last season, we had 40 winners and a lot more horses in, whereas this year we've only got 25 horses to run and 10 three-year-olds.

"I bought some three-year-olds with nice pedigrees that will hopefully be nice horses for next year, that's the idea.

"We're not going to have the season we had last year, but I've tried to up the quality and hopefully we can have runners on the bigger days."

The Morgan-trained Notlongtillmay is 6/1 with race sponsor Paddy Power  following his creditable reappearance fourth at Cheltenham last month, with only his Grade 1 Turners Novices' Chase conqueror, Stage Star, ahead of him in the market at this point.

However, with Notlongtillmay now better off at the weights with the reopposing Cheltenham Festival-winner Stage Star and that reappearance outing under his belt, Morgan is confident her seven-year-old can put up a bold bid of reversing the form.

"Two miles is way too short, and I'd left him short enough as well – it wasn't like he was fully tuned up for that," she added.

"I was going to go to Wetherby for a two-and-a-half-mile race on the Friday of the Charlie Hall meeting, but obviously that was abandoned, so thank God, I actually gave him a prep run before then.

"This was the aim, we're 3lb better off with Stage Star and Stage Star isn't going to get an easy lead like he did in the Turners – there's going to be a lot of pace in this on Saturday.

"With The Real Whacker running, our lad goes in there with a nice racing weight [11st 4lb], and he'll go through the [soft] ground, that wouldn't worry me at all."

Stablemate Whistleinthedark has been ultra-progressive since switching to chasing, making it a perfect four from four over fences with a commanding six-length success at Perth back in April.

The gelded son of Fame And Glory hasn't been seen in action since then but Morgan is confident her rapidly improving eight-year-old is fit enough to himself justice.

Morgan added: "I had planned to give him a prep run – he was going to go to Market Rasen for the Prelude [Handicap Chase], but it was abandoned.

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