International star arrives for battle at Prestbury Park
CZECH Republic challenger Orphee Des Blins has arrived at Cheltenham Racecourse ahead of her bid to make racing history at the Open meeting, writes Jonathan Herbert.
She will attempt to become the first horse to win the Velka Pardubicka – one of the most formidable races in the world – and tomorrow's Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase.
Orphee Des Blins made the long trip for her date with destiny with her trainer Greg Wroblewski.
She will be kept in high-security surroundings in the stables at Prestbury Park during her stay.
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Simon Claisse, head of racing at Cheltenham, said the mare looked good during a workout over the cross-country course yesterday.
"I was very impressed with her," he said.
"All the obstacles on cross-country courses tend to present some different challenges, but she negotiated the banks and 'cheese wedges' very well.
"The final leg of her journey took 12 hours and she was very fresh.
"We are delighted to have the Pardubicka winner back here – the last one was Registana (in 2004).
"It just reinforces the international quality of the event."
Racing gets under way tomorrow with the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase (1.15pm).
The high-quality six-race card concludes with the Bates Hats Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase (4.05pm)