Pendra and Bentelimar set to fly the flag for Longsdon

Bentelimar (Fern Dalziel) come up the Hull Farm all-weather gallop
Bentelimar (Fern Dalziel) come up the Hull Farm all-weather gallop

Chipping Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon will look to an old favourite and another experienced chaser to fly the flag at next week’s Cheltenham Festival.

Pendra, now ten, and Bentelimar, just a year his junior, head the list of runners for the Hull Farm handler who is still chasing that elusive first Festival success.

Pendra is great old friend of ours, this will be his fifth Festival and he’s been placed in three of them

Chipping Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon

Pendra has won six times from 16 starts while Bentelimar has landed six wins from 36 starts. Pendra went close last year, only being pipped on the run-in by Domesday Book in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders Handicap Chase.

Pendra holds entries in Tuesday’s Ultima Handicap Chase and Thursday’s Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders Handicap Chase.

Longsdon said: “Pendra and Bentelimar are our two stand-out horses this year.

“This will be his fifth Festival and he’s been placed in three of them. I know he’s never won there but he’s got solid Festival form and was very unlucky last year when he got caught on the run-in.

“He was also fifth behind The Druid’s Nephew in the 2015 Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase.

“No decision has been taken yet on which race he will run in but, having run so well in the Kim Muir last year, I guess that will probably be the plan of attack as he is on the same handicap mark.”

Bentelimar has three options, Tuesday’s Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase, Thursday’s Grade 1 JLT Novices’ Chase and Friday’s Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing Bentelimar run. He could be the best handicapped horse of ours and he is crying out for better ground.

“He’s in great form and well handicapped but I’ve said all along that if he didn’t get in then he’d go for the consolation race at Kempton the following Saturday.”