Josies Orders has next month’s Cheltenham Festival on his agenda after impressively winning at Punchestown on Sunday.
Trainer Enda Bolger, synonymous with the Cross Country contest at the Festival, was delighted after watching Josies Orders win the P.P. Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase at the Co Kildare track from Hurricane Darwin.
Josies Orders had managed a narrow second in the race last year behind stablemate Auvergnat before finishing a well-held sixth at Cheltenham as Tiger Roll (pictured above) won the Cross Country en route to Aintree, where he landed the Grand National for Gordon Elliott.
Josies Orders has bounced back from those disappointments last season and had already won around Cheltenham at the November Meeting and finished a close third in December before Sunday’s Punchestown success.
The JP McManus-owned 11-year-old is now being readied for the Cross Country race at the Festival next month. Josies Orders finished a length second to Any Currency in the 2016 edition, though he was later awarded the race when the winner was disqualified, ensuring Bolger is in the history books as a five-time winner of the contest since it was introduced to the festival programme in 2005.
Josies Orders is 6/1 with Betfred to win the Cross Country this year and, all being well, that is where Bolger would like to race next.
“You probably know where we are heading [next],” he told reporters. “He stays well and sees it out, and we’ll try to keep him in one piece now for March.
“They weren’t bad horses in it this year, it was a good test and the timing is just right.
“His ears were pricked and that’s why those things (blinkers) are on him. I’m chuffed with that, and it’s poignant that it was in the race for my old boss.”
Tiger Roll meanwhile is 5/2 favourite to win another renewal of the Cross Country at Cheltenham on March 13.
Odds subject to change.