Top Trainer Kerry Lee gives her views ahead of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival

Top Trainer Kerry Lee gives her views ahead of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival
14:45, 11 Mar 2019

The Sportsman sponsors National Hunt trainer Kerry Lee and ahead of this week's Cheltenham Festival, we caught up with her to get her views on this week's big races.

Much will depend upon the ground condition as to whether my couple of entries line up in handicap company later in the week during the Cheltenham Festival, but for any trainer it's hard not to look forward to this time of year. 

Deep down, the majority of my colleagues will confess they were horse lovers and racing fans as far back as they can remember, and certainly decades before they graduated to being licensed professionals, so here are a couple of names, both human and equine, to keep an eye that I too will be looking forward to seeing...

I'm going to kick off not with a horse but with a jockey. That might surprise you, but I was watching a Cheltenham Festival Preview Night screened live by The Sportsman and it came to my attention that not only does Davy Russell have the mount on Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy, but he rides Cheltenham like few others can, and will have a very strong book of supporting rides. 

Betting isn't for me, but if you gave me a charity bet right now I'd be minded to have it on Davy to be top jock at the Festival. People who know way more than me about such things tell me he's around the 5/1 mark, which sounds reasonable given his skill, expertise, experience and obvious rapport with the occasion.

That leads me neatly on to the horse running at this year's meeting, separate from my own, I'd most like to be involved in.

Without a shadow of a doubt that would be the Russell-ridden Gold Cup favourite, Presenting Percy, trained by the discreet but deadly effective Pat Kelly in the West of Ireland.

I adore the way this horse and the fashion in which he simply cruises through his races, conserving energy and pricking his ears to suggest there is plenty more in the tank.

Much has been made about his unconventional preparation, but I prefer to focus on his record at the Cheltenham Festival, which is a perfect two wins from two visits. He looks to be the horse of several lifetimes and quite simply I hope he wins. It would be a great shot in the arm for a sport which needs it's heroes and has suffered an interrupted season.

Elsewhere, it's been a mare, Happy Diva, who has flown the flag for my yard this campaign, and my idea of the Champion Hurdle winner on the first day of the meeting is another leading lady, Apple's Jade.

They say you need both speed and stamina to win a Champion Hurdle, and there's no question this multiple winner at the top level possesses both in abundance.

Her prep runs show she's in the form of her life, and getting a few pounds I like her chances of foiling Buveur D'Air's hat-trick bid in this famous race.

Enjoy Cheltenham, I hope it's lucky for you and that all horses and riders come back safe and sound.

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