Gavin Sheehan raring to go on red-letter St Patrick's day as he gets the leg up on likes of Emitom and Itchy Feet

Gavin Sheehan raring to go on red-letter St Patrick's day as he gets the leg up on likes of Emitom and Itchy Feet

CORK man Gavin Sheehan is hoping for a St Patrick’s Day to remember.

The 27-year-old will be the envy of the weighing room with a five-star book of rides at Cheltenham this afternoon.

The Irishman knows what victory tastes like at the Festival, with Cole Harden a famous winner in the 2015 World Hurdle for wily Warren Greatrex.

And they’ll be hoping lightning strikes twice as they team up with Emitom in today’s feature.

But with Sheehan also set to partner Itchy Feet, Saint Calvados, Simply The Betts and Skandiburg, the Guinness could be on him come the end of the day.

It would be some Thursday for the rider who has enjoyed a stellar season after a quiet spell the last couple of years.

He’s only two winners off a seasonal best and has enjoyed top level success on Olly Murphy’s Itchy Feet in the Andrew Brooks colours that have proved lucky all year.

Saint Calvados, Skandiburg and Simply The Betts all have live chances in the blue, red and white of the Brooks family too. Some party that could be.

Sheehan said: “Cheltenham is some place, you can’t beat a winner there, there’s nothing like it.

“And it’s even more exciting this time around, hopefully we can cap the season with a winner or two.”

In the Stayers’ Paisley Park is the one they all have to beat – easier said than done – but Sheehan is licking his lips at the prospect.

He said: “Emitom was very smart at Haydock but he will need to step up again.

“Paisley Park is an amazing horse but the one horse I think could put it up to him is Emitom.

“He has a lot of class and I’m very excited about taking him on.”

Itchy Feet will be one of the favourites in the Marsh Chase and Sheehan thinks Murphy’s chaser could get him off to a flyer.

He said: “Itchy Feet has got a big chance.

“On only his second run over fences he won a Grade 1 which tells you plenty.

“He won at Sandown in very taking style and he’s got the right kind of profile heading into a race like this being third in the Supreme last year too.”

Saint Calvados is to take on the likes of A Plus Tard, Min and Frodon in the Ryanair and Sheehan admits Harry Whittington’s star needs to step up if he’s to compete.

He said: “He needs to up his game to be honest and find a bit more, but there’s no reason he can’t but he needs to kick on.

“He’s been ridden differently now and it’s paid off as he’s only a young horse.”

It could be his handicap hotshot Simply The Betts that has punters singing his name though.

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He sits pretty at the top of the betting for the Brown Advisory Plate and Whittington has named him as his best chance of a winner all week.

Sheehan said: “Simply The Betts has a great chance.

“The last day he was class to ride and everything went easy for him.

“He’s got speed but he stays too and the time of the race he won was very good, the sectionals too.

“He’s a horse with a bit of class and handling the course is the main thing going into the Festival in races like this.

“He’s exciting because he could still be well-handicapped. He’s a far better chaser than he was hurdler but he has the perfect profile for this.”

Green will be the colour of the day as the Irish invade Prestbury Park and it’s a bit of that Paddy luck Sheehan is hoping goes his way.

He said: “You need the rub of the green at Cheltenham for sure, but I’ve had that this season and hopefully that carries on and goes our way.

“The trainers I’m riding for are going great guns and to top it off with a Festival winner or two would be amazing. It’s safe to say I’m excited.”


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