Cheltenham Festival: If Giant Bolster wins Gold Cup watch out for gymnastics - Simon Hunt
OWNER Simon Hunt has predicted wild scenes of celebration should The Giant Bolster win the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, saying: "Watch out for gymnastics!"
Last year's runner-up will bid to go one place better on Friday when he lines up under Tom Scudamore for David Bridgwater's Stow-on-the-Wold stable.
Reporting The Giant Bolster ready for battle, Hunt is ready for an all-action week at Prestbury Park.
"I'll be there for four days and I really enjoy the racing on the first three and then have a gut-wrenching day until the tapes go up for the Gold Cup," he said.
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"The number one priority is horse and jockey to come back safe.
"If we're in the first four we'll be delighted and if something extraordinary happens watch out for gymnastics.
"We'll see how high we can throw Bridgie in the air!"
Hunt said The Giant Bolster had benefited from an away-day at Cheltenham in the build-up to the Festival.
A winner twice at the track, the eight-year-old was put through his paces on the all-weather strip.
"He's been tipping away nicely and he's in great order," he said.
"The idea behind going to Cheltenham was to give him a change of scenery and it gets the heart pumping a bit.
"He had a long stretch up there in front of the stands and he knows exactly where he's going."
The Giant Bolster has had three races in preparation for the Gold Cup since chasing home Synchronised in last year's race.
He had an off-day when pulled up in the King George VI Chase but either side of that has been placed in key Gold Cup trials.
He kicked of the campaign by finishing third to Gold Cup rival Silviniaco Conti in the Betfair Chase and last time out finished runner-up to Paul Nicholls' charge in the Betfair Denman Chase.
Hunt said The Giant Bolster's season had been build around getting him ready for Friday's blue riband event.
"We were chuffed to bits with his run in the Denman Chase at Newbury," he said.
"Last year he finished 11 lengths behind Long Run and the three horses that finished in front of us all finished behind us in the Gold Cup.
"This year we were second in the Denman and there's nothing to say we can't turn that form around.
"We wouldn't go if we didn't believe we could.
"We've been building up to it all season and there's a big difference in him from when he started the season off at Haydock to now.
"One thing for certain is that Bridgie will have him in tip-top condition."
Hunt shares Jonjo O'Neill's opinion that 2011 winner Long Run, owned by Cheltenham Racecourse chairman Robert Waley-Cohen, is the horse to beat this year.
Long Run was third in last year's Gold Cup but finished in front of The Giant Bolster in the Betfair Chase and won the King George.
Hunt said: "Long Run's a Gold Cup winner who's won the King George twice.
"He knows his way around Cheltenham and he's still only eight.
"I think it's a wide-open Gold Cup and we go there with a big live chance.
"In terms of the ground, I think good-to-soft would be ideal but we'll go on whatever's there.
"It's an opportunity to win the biggest race in jump racing, as far as I'm concerned.
"I'm sure it would be a thrill to win the Grand National, but I know what I'd rather win."