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Oxfordshire Trainer Charlie Longsdon Already Plotting Cheltenham Festival Return

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As Hector Javilex moved ominously into second place in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle in March, Charlie Longsdon’s pulse must have started to quicken.

The horse racing trainer, based in Oxfordshire, has enjoyed big race success before, but there’s just something about the Cheltenham Festival that is rarefied air for all those connected to the sport.

Sadly, the seven-year-old just started to fade up the infamous Prestbury Park hill, but it was an eye-catching run from a horse, who, it must be said, isn’t even the strongest in Longsdon’s yard right now.

Dust settled, the Chipping Norton handler is already plotting his Cheltenham Festival return in 2025…

Rare Talent

A wet winter put paid to the hopes of one of the brightest talents in the Longsdon yard, Rare Edition.

His chasing debut was put on hold to the soft ground, with the Oxfordshire trainer confident that the seven-year-old can be a major player in staying chases.

The racing odds for the 2025 Festival have been published, with the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase headlined by the excellent Ballyburn (12/1). The Cheltenham ante-post horse racing tips also feature Prestbury Park scorer Majborough (12/1) and Caldwell Potter (16/1), although it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Rare Edition declared for the race too if he takes to the bigger fences – and gets the better going that he craves.

In November, Longsdon confirmed he was looking at staying chases for the horse, which is owned by the Pay The Bill Syndicate. That prospect was delayed by the wet winter, with Rare Edition sent hurdling once more – a win at Kempton in January on good-to-soft ground a reminder of his talents.

It’s not that long ago that Rare Edition was beating Rubaud too – a horse that has since gone on to win at Grade 2 level and give up just nine lengths to the all-conquering Constitution Hill in the Christmas Hurdle.

After Harry Cobden advised Longsdon that Rare Edition is a three-mile chaser in the making, that will be the plan for the 2024/25 campaign – assuming the rain stays away…

Grand Designs

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most prestigious meetings in National Hunt racing, but it’s another major meeting that’s the target for another of Longsdon’s chasers.

Guetapan Collonges has shown a real aptitude for staying, defeating a former Grand National placer in Mr Coffey at Uttoxeter and finishing third behind Iwilldoit, a future podium finisher in the Welsh Grand National, at Warwick.

A run in testing conditions at the Midlands Grand National ended in disappointment in March, but at just eight-years-old Guetapan Collonges has time on his side as a steeplechaser.

His current rating would need to be improved upon if he is to secure entry into the Aintree Grand National, but that is the ultimate plan for a horse owned by J.P. McManus – the Irishman having won the race twice already with Don’t Push It and Minella Times.

“I think he is definitely a Grand National horse at some point, but it did take him a long time to get the hang of jumping a fence in his first season over them,” Longsdon has admitted. “I think we would all hope he ends up in the race one day.”

Guetapan Collonges is definitely a horse to watch in 2024 and into next year.

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