Wiltshire-based trainer Andrew Turnell has recorded four successes at The Festival, most notably with Katabatic in the 1991 Queen Mother Champion Chase, and has another live contender for glory this year in the shape of Micheal Flips, a £200,000 purchase from the Brightwells Sale held at the racecourse in April, 2008.
The five-year-old, a winning Irish point-to-pointer, has won three of his four starts over hurdles. His latest victory came at Kempton on Boxing Day, when he scored by an impressive seven lengths.
Turnell said today: “We have given Michael Flips entries in both the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle and he will almost certainly go for the two-mile race at the moment.
“He’s come out of his win at Kempton in good form and we will be going straight to The Festival with him now because he goes well fresh. He made a very bad blunder at the penultimate flight when he was second to Show Winner at the same course in November, and cut his knee open.
“He would appear to be more effective on a faster surface but he won a point to point at Lismore last March on yielding ground so I’m hopeful that he’s quite versatile in terms of ground.
“I would be optimistic that he’s improved since Boxing Day and he’s only five so we’ve still got plenty to look forward to with him. We bought him as a potential chaser and he’ll go over the larger obstacles next season so anything that he does this season is a bonus.”