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Cheltenham Festival: Greaneteen a doubt for Champion Chase as Paul Nicholls’ star gets treatment for eye injury

Greaneteen is facing a race against time to be fit for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham later this month due to an eye injury.

The eight-year-old finished last of five runners behind Chacun Pour Soi in the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown on his most recent start, having won the Tingle Creek and chased home Shishkin at Kempton on his two previous outings.

Greaneteen finished fourth in the Champion Chase last term, beaten just two lengths by Put The Kettle On, but trainer Paul Nicholls admits his charge may not be ready for the Festival after requiring treatment for an ulcer on his eye.

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Greaneteen and Bryony Frost win the Celebration Chase at Sandown

He said on Thursday: “He’s not here at the moment, he’s injured his eye. Whether he got hit with a lump of mud or something at Down Royal or got cast in his box, he’s got an ulcer on his eye which he is being treated for.

“It’s going the right way, but I think we’re unlikely to be able to go Cheltenham with him.

“Unless I get him back in the next few days, he’ll have to wait until Sandown on the last day of the season. He would be 50-50 to be able to run in the Champion Chase.”

Chacun Pour Soi (pink and green) leads the Champion Chase at Cheltenham, with Greaneteen (pink and blue) and Nube Negra (white and red) giving chase
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Chacun Pour Soi (pink and green) leads the Champion Chase at Cheltenham, with Greaneteen (pink and blue) and Nube Negra (white and red) giving chase

While Greaneteen is a doubt, Politologue is set to fly the flag for the Ditcheat team in the two-mile Grade One.

The popular grey won the race in 2020 but was ruled out of a defence just moments before the race last term when connections discovered blood in his nose.

Now an 11-year-old, Politologue has won four Grade Ones for owner John Hales and Nicholls believes the Champion Chase could be his swansong, depending on how he runs.

Bryony Frost holds aloft the Tingle Creek trophy at Sandown
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Bryony Frost holds aloft the Tingle Creek trophy at Sandown

He said: “He won the race two years ago and he’s a dual Tingle Creek winner. He’s 11 years old now, so he’s got it all to do – there’s a lot younger legs in the race. It’s going to be hard for him.

“I suspect this will be his last run or second-last run – we may go on to Sandown and run him.

Politologue stretches away from stablemate Greaneteen on his way to Tingle Creek success at Sandown last year
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Politologue stretches away from stablemate Greaneteen on his way to Tingle Creek success at Sandown last year

“He’s been an amazing horse. I think this will be the sixth time he’s run at the Festival, so he’s been fantastic and I wouldn’t mind a few more like him.

“He went to Wincanton this morning and worked really nicely. He’s been a pleasure to train all his life, but he’s in the twilight of his career now.”



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