Sunday 23

Horse Racing

Harty excited by Coney return

22nd December 2017, 16:18 by Jack Ogalbe

Eddy Harty is confident Saturday's outing at Ascot can provide the perfect start to Coney Island's Cheltenham Gold Cup quest.

The six-year-old was a Grade One winner as a novice, but has been absent since finishing second to Our Duke at Leopardstown late last year.

While Our Duke went on to claim the Irish National, Coney Island sat out the rest of the season and is finally set to return on Saturday in a Graduation Chase at Ascot.

Harty's ultimate goal for the campaign is to go for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and he has chosen this race especially to ease Coney Island back in.

The County Kildare handler admits he is apprehensive about his charge's return although he is backing him to produce a strong showing in order to prove his Festival credentials.

"I think there's a bit of nervous apprehension ahead of it, but also a sense of relief," said Harty. "This race hasn't been a long plan, but he's just ready to run now and this race was there.

"The trip looks perfect, it's a small field and the ground is decent. There's only two against him, but More Of That has been a very good horse on his day and Adrien Du Pont is getting 11lb and wasn't far off Willoughby Court last time out.

"All we're looking for is a nice safe run, win, lose or draw, and we can go from there."

He added: "He's not even seven yet so hopefully he's got a long career ahead of him. They are talking of him being in the mix for the Gold Cup, but he's still a young horse."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Jack Ogalbe has been working for the team since his student days, having enjoyed a successful placement. He is an avid West Ham fan but also enjoys writing on rugby union, golf, tennis and cycling.

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