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Osborne has ground fears for Tell

Tue, 08 May 2012

Jamie Osborne has huge reservations about the ground for his StanJames.com Chester Cup candidate Never Can Tell, who was well beaten on her only previous run on soft ground.

However, the race has always been the target for the Cesarewitch winner, who is owned by staunch Chester supporter Dr Marwan Koukash.

"She's had a great preparation and this has been the plan since winning the Cesarewitch. It's an important race for Marwan and for us all," said Osborne.

"She's in great order and we're happy we've got her there in the right condition.

"I'm obviously very concerned about the ground. She's run 14 times in her life and only once on soft ground and it was the worst run of her life. I'm not confident about her ability to handle it, but we'll give it a go.

"I was never worried what draw she would get, but it's a huge worry that we are going to ask her to race on ground that the only time she's run on it before she ran like a goat."

Mark Johnston fears the widest draw has seriously compromised the chances of Gulf Of Naples, who goes to the Roodee on the back of an impressive win at Ripon.

"Gulf Of Naples is the form horse. He's racing with a 3lb penalty and everything would be perfect, but for his draw. That's the main issue. Apart from that, we would feel he was tailor made for the race," said the Middleham trainer.

"I'm sure he would be the one they'd all be fearing, but they will be fearing him less because he's drawn out in the car park."

Johnston also saddles Eternal Heart, who has done considerably better than his stablemate in the draw stakes. The handler added: "Eternal Heart is a very good horse and he's has got a very good draw (five). You'd have to say he has an excellent chance."