Quinn’s star off straight to Festival

Aurore D' Estruval
Aurore D' Estruval
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JOHN QUINN’S Malton ace Aurore D’Estruval will head straight to the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The five-year-old returned to winning ways in a mares’ event at Sandown on Saturday having previously chased home Irving in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.

A daughter of the classy chaser Nickname, Malton trainer Quinn felt she had a hard enough race at the weekend and he will now freshen her up for March.

“She’s come out of the race fine, but she won’t have another run before Cheltenham,” said Quinn.

“I don’t think she needs one in truth and it turned into a hard enough race in very gluey ground.

“It’s only nine weeks away anyway, so we’ll freshen her up for that.

“After Cheltenham, there are plenty of other nice races for her in the spring, too.”

Meanwhile, Paul Nicholls will pay little attention to the statistics as he considers whether to run Unioniste in the Crabbie’s Grand National in April.

The John Hales-owned grey has only just turned seven and no horse that age has won the Aintree marathon since Bogskar in 1940.

Nicholls and Hales won the 2012 National with Neptune Collonges and are hoping Unioniste can follow suit after his decisive win at Sandown on Saturday.

Nicholls said: “I notice some people are using statistics from the past to suggest he is too young for the race at seven, but I don’t pay any attention to that.

“Times have changed.”