Williams keeps big guns fresh for Cheltenham Festival

Evan Williams is counting down the days to the Cheltenham Festival, where he has chances on the opening afternoon with Silver Streak and Esprit Du Large.

Both horses were put away until the biggest jumps meeting in the calendar after three runs this season, the latest coming in December.

Williams reports his pair to be on track to arrive at Prestbury Park in tip-top shape next month.

Esprit Du Large staked his claim for Arkle honours when lifting the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown.

“All seems grand. He’s good and fresh and well,” said the Llanfarcan trainer.

“To wait for Cheltenham after Sandown was always our intention, and it’s fingers crossed.”

Silver Streak outran his of odds of 80-1 when third in the Champion Hurdle last year, and again goes for glory in the Unibet-sponsored showpiece.

He showed he is a genuine each-way contender when finishing second to Epatante, the ante-post favourite, in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

“He seems good too. Let’s hope things stay as they are and we get a clear run,” added Williams.

He has no intention of giving either horse an away day before their big-race targets.

“They’ll go nowhere,” he said.

“The next time they see a racecourse is when they get to Cheltenham.

“I’m happy with them. Both have done plenty and have had three runs this year.

“Touch wood, all we need to do is to keep them in one piece.”

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