The appearance of Croco Bay in the concluding race of the Cheltenham Festival is getting to be something of a habit for Ben Case.
And the Edgcote trainer again has cause for optimism in the 2017 version next week.
He has had a few ‘nothing’ races this season and his form has not been as consistent as I would have liked but there have been excuses and he ran pretty well last timeEdgcote trainer Ben Case
Lady Jane Grosvenor’s ten year-old may not have got his head in front so far this season with some of his runs less than inspiring.
But Croco Bay has performed with distinction at Prestbury Park before and is not weighted out of the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase.
The race has been the target all season and his recent third behind Gardefort at Wincanton was pleasing enough.
Case said: “He has had a few ‘nothing’ races this season and his form has not been as consistent as I would have liked but there have been excuses and he ran pretty well last time.
“Considering it was a small field he had quite a rough race and I am hoping he improves.”
Croco Bay finished third in this contest two years ago, beaten only six lengths by Next Sensation and Eastlake, and is now back down to an attractive mark of 141. That should still be high enough for him to get into next week’s race.
Stablemate Graceful Legend has an entry in the Trull House Stud Mares Novices Hurdle.
But Case may bypass Cheltenham and stick to his original plan of going to Newbury later in the month.
The six-year-old has won four from her 11 starts and is in good form after winning on her last three outings.
Miss Tongabezi recorded a second career success at Ludlow for Mollington trainer Paul Webber last week.
The eight-year-old won Thursday’s Racing UK Profits Returned To Racing Mares Handicap Hurdle in the hands of Fergus Gregory.
After being put up 10lbs, Miss Tongabezi will now step up in grade and head to Newbury at the end of the month for the EBF Mares Novice Handicap Hurdle.
The Cropredy Lawn handler said: “We were concerned about the softer ground and Fergus [Gregory] steered a wider course to avoid the worst of it, before staying on very easily to win by ten lengths.
“She is an extremely accurate jumper. She is a small filly but with a massive heart and hopefully Fergus’ 10lbs claim can ease her burden once again.”