'Stiff and sore' L'Homme Presse could head straight to the Cheltenham Gold Cup

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Andy Edwards (inset) says the ground at Kempton was not soft enough for L
Andy Edwards (inset) says the ground at Kempton was not soft enough for L'Homme Presse

L’Homme Presse emerged “stiff and sore” after the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton Park where the drying terrain was “miles too quick”, according to part-owner Andy Edwards.

The Venetia Williams-trained seven-year-old had been mastered by the Paul Nicholls-saddled Bravemansgame on Boxing Day when unseating Charlie Deutsch at the last of the 18 fences.

The ground was officially ‘soft’ for the three-mile test but Edwards said: “We drove there with it being called soft ground but I walked it at 10am and there wasn’t any ‘soft’ out there at all – it was ‘good to soft’.

“It’s nobody’s fault. Once the sun’s out, the wind’s drying it off and the drainage is working, you can’t do anything about it.

“Four and a half hours later, nothing was in our favour and it was on the edge of being safe for our boy. I made the decision to let him run but it was always miles too quick.

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“Hence why he’s pretty stiff and sore after. He’s having a couple of weeks just freshening him up.”

L’Homme Presse, who remains the leading domestic Gold Cup contender at 7-1, could go straight to Cheltenham on March 17 without another run according to Edwards, who campaigns the seven-year-old under the DFA Racing partnership.

“This Friday it will be 10 weeks until the Gold Cup, so it comes upon you quite quickly,” he added. “We will just let him come back to himself and he will tell us when he is ready to go next time.”

David Yates

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation