Rowley provides positive Hazel update

Trainer Philip Rowley says Hazel Hill is in good shape and remains on course to race at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.

Doubts had emerged over the participation of Hazel Hill at Prestbury Park after he was found to have a slight muscle strain when beaten by Minella Rocco at Wetherby in a hunter chase on February 1.

However, Bridgnorth-based trainer Rowley says everything is fine with the 12-year-old after the scare and he remains on track to defend his title in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham.

“I am pleased to report that Hazel Hill is well and still on track for Cheltenham,” he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “We must not forget that he was beaten by a very good horse who has clearly found his mojo again, carrying 4lb less.

“Hazel Hill came up outside the wings at the open ditch and jumped right from there on, and the physio has found a slight muscle strain – which has been easily resolved and would explain his jumping.

“He has missed no work – so his programme will continue on schedule, and everything is very positive.”

Hazel Hill landed the Foxhunter Chase last march when beating Shantou Flyer by four lengths.

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