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All roads point to Cheltenham for Burning Ambition

All roads point to Cheltenham for Burning Ambition

This Sunday’s point-to-point at Cragmore will mark just one year since Burning Ambition recorded his first ever success, when scoring in the six-year-old and upwards maiden at the Co. Limerick track.

In a race which has produced a number of winners, including runner-up Black Scorpion - now a four-time winner, Rob James's mount made light work of his rivals and impressed on the day.

The Pierce Power-trained bay has not looked back since, having risen through the ranks in style. With a convincing win in a maiden hunters chase at Limerick over Christmas and hopes of Cheltenham glory, it was time to take on his toughest challenge yet. This challenge came in a small but select field in the hunters chase at Punchestown last Sunday.

The seven-year-old tracked leaders throughout and when he hit the front before the last, he looked to have the measure of the Enda Bolger-trained Gilgamboa. However, experience prevailed and the former Grade One winner battled back to deny the plucky youngster his sixth win on the bounce. The Wexford-based handler took plenty of positives out of his charges valiant effort.

"We were absolutely thrilled with him on Sunday. When he hit the front we thought maybe it would happen, but he had a very tough cookie in behind him. We were only having our second track run and Gilgamboa is grade one winner so we could not be happier."

Next on the cards will be a crack at lifting the famed Foxhunters Challenge cup at the hallowed Cotswolds track.

"He looks after himself well and has come out of the race great. We will begin gearing him up for Cheltenham now towards the end of the week and wrap him up well."

A second placed run in last year's Fortria at Navan rules Gilgamboa out of this year's Foxhunters, and so it is the son of Scorpion who heads the ante-post market for the Foxhunters, and is as low as 5/1 to give his trainer his first winner at Prestbury Park.

“We have our tickets booked for Cheltenham so it's all go now."

Burning Ambition will be Power's first runner in Cheltenham and the significance of having an ante post favourite in his care is not lost on the trainer.

"I never thought that I would train a horse that would be favourite for the Festival. We tend to sell them on before they would get to that stage. It is a lovely feeling and fantastic to have."

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