Coach Milton Harris is enjoying a good season and with the results of all the big Triumph Hurdle trials over the holiday season pinned down, it’s all a smile to Sutton Veny as Harris consolidates plans for his Cheltenham Festival Hope Knight Salute.
Seen the last time he held his record for undefeated obstacles in the Grade Two Summit Hurdle in Doncaster, the form of that race received a huge boost when runner-up Porticello ran into the Grade One Finale Juvenile Hurdle in Chepstow.
Having momentarily contemplated upgrading Knight Salute to the level for its upcoming release, Harris has now revealed that Knight Salute will be looking for further gradual honors, spotting the Close Brothers Adonis Juvenile Hurdle in Kempton for its pre-Festival tune-up.
Harris said: “We were planning to take him to the Flat as a preparation, but I think we decided for Adonis in Kempton.
“I talked to AP McCoy about him actually and he thought Kempton would be a good place to go and he’s a fast horse who has already won there.
“I know that every time you run there is a risk of injury, but he’s a pretty reasonable guy and it’s hard for these youngsters in Season 2 when they run in open company, so you have to deal with them while you can.”
The results over the holiday period have made Harris dream of Cheltenham Festival glory and he is confident his manager has a fantastic chance to provide the Warminster handler with a first winner at the March flagship.
“Listen, I don’t want to denigrate anyone else’s horse: Gary’s (Moore) horse is a very nice horse, but it will probably end up being a three-mile chaser. Same with Gordon Elliott’s (Fil Dor) horse. great, but looks more like a galloper who will benefit from a lot of cuts.
“Whether the decent terrain on the last day in Cheltenham will be good for them on our horse, only time will tell, but I imagine our chances from the back of the last to the line with anyone.
“I mean they may be on and off when we get to the last, but if we’re attached to them going down to the last, then we’re a runner because I know we have a fast horse,” commented the manager.
Harris has racked up 32 winners this season and his good form continued on Boxing Day when Jacamar won in front of the ITV cameras in Kempton.
The progressive hunter is ready to test his Festival credentials when he performs in Prestbury Park on Trials Day.
“Cheltenham Trials Day is written in pencil and there are two races for which it will get an entry. It will be the two and a half mile novice chase or the grade three handicap open on the same trip, but we’ll take a look. closer to the moment and we will evaluate everything, ”Harris said.