Horse Racing

Aintree a possibility for Gitane Du Berlais

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Gitane Du Berlais, winner of the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase on Saturday, could miss the Cheltenham Festival in favour of a run at Aintree. 

The Willie Mullins-trained mare scored by an impressive eight lengths ahead of Irish Saint in the showpiece race at Sandown leading to some bookmakers slashing her odds for the JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham to 14-1 (from 50). 

Gitane Du Berlais had come to England as she is not qualified to compete in mares’ events in Ireland. Rather than take on stablemates Vautour and Un De Sceaux she was aimed at Sandown in a bid to record her second win in England, following success at Aintree last year.

Aintree likely

It was Mullins' first winner in Britain this year and he feels that a trip to the Aintree Festival may do her more good than Cheltenham.

He said: "I think she might be too keen to go for the RSA and maybe the Arkle would be just asking too much for a mare on her third run over fences.

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"I would think the JLT (could be her Festival target), but remember, she's won in Aintree so perhaps we'll skip Cheltenham and go to Aintree. We'll see."

Other festival news

In other Festival news, trainer Harry Fry is considering a tilt at the Supreme Novices' Chase with Jollyallan despite defeat at Sandown on Saturday.

The six-year-old went into the race on the back of a hat-trick of novice hurdle wins earlier in the season and just lost out to Garde La Victoire in the Contenders Chase.

However Fry was happy with his performance and believes the experience will stand him in good stead for the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival on March 10.

"Jollyallan ran a good race but was beaten by a good standard bearer in Garde La Victoire," said Fry.

"We just got outbattled after the last, but it was what we wanted to achieve in terms of getting more experience in him and coming up against a good campaigner like Garde La Victoire.

"All being well we're looking forward to running him on decent ground, hopefully at Cheltenham in the Supreme." 

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