14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Opening Batsman a Festival doubtHeadlines
Opening Batsman (left)

Harry Fry admits it is "doubtful" last weekend's Racing Plus Chase hero Opening Batsman will turn up at the Cheltenham Festival in a fortnight's time.

The seven-year-old has gone up eight pounds in the weights after winning one of the most prestigious staying handicap chases of the season at Kempton, a hike his trainer believes is a "fair rise".

Opening Batsman holds four entries at Prestbury Park but if he is to make the trip, he will contest either the JLT Specialty Chase or the shorter Byrne Group Plate.

Fry is not prepared to ask his charge to carry a huge burden in either the Kim Muir or the Pulteney Land Investments Novices' Handicap Chase.

Fry said: "I think it's a fair rise and no decision has been made about whether he'll go to Cheltenham or not yet.

"We'll let the horse tell us, see how he is and then make a decision next week.

"The owners are still on cloud nine and living the dream after last Saturday, so we haven't had a proper discussion about it yet.

"We were delighted with him last weekend and whether we want to throw him into another really competitive handicap in the space of three weeks, I'm not sure. It's probably doubtful at this stage, but we'll see.

"The main thing is he has come out of Kempton in good form and there is always Aintree and Punchestown later on.

"If he is to go to Cheltenham, he definitely won't be running in the novice handicap or the Kim Muir. He'd have to carry 12st 6lb and 12st 1lb (respectively) in those races and he won't be doing that."

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