GOOD news from the yard of trainer Jonjo O'Neill.
Cheshire-owned Iris's Gift is ready to race and, almost unbelievably for a horse injured over the summer, he's being aimed at the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Nantwich landlord Bob Lester, who named the horse after his late mother, is the driving force behind the plan to go for steeplechasing's Blue Riband.
It would be a remarkable feat for the seven-year-old to become the first horse in 31 years to win the Gold Cup as a novice.
And it must be remembered that Iris's Gift has yet to jump a fence in public.
His greatest achievement to date came in the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last spring when he lowered the colours of the great long-distance hurdler Baracouda.
Though the Champion Jockey Tony Mc-Coy is now Jonjo O'Neill's stable jockey, Barry Geraghty will retain the ride on Iris's Gift.
Meanwhile, the Chester Racecourse ground staff, who are members of the Castle Bend racehorse ownership syndicate, are still on cloud nine with their horse Colliers Court winning for a fourth time in a row - all within the space of seven weeks.
Saighton trainer Lisa Williamson explains that the horse has 'mentally grown up' and is 'such a brilliant jumper'.
She adds: 'They are a great bunch of owners who are made up of the ground staff at Chester Racecourse, hence their name.
'It's a dream come true for them that the horse keeps winning.'
The next meeting at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse is on Friday, February 11, 2005. The first race is scheduled for 2.10pm and a free bus service runs from Wrexham Station to the racecourse 90 minutes before the first race and returns afterwards - racegoers with railway tickets have priority.
Admission to the Course Enclosure is £7 while the Paddock Enclosure is £14. Accompanied children enter free.
More information is available on the web-site www.BangorOnDeeRaces.co.uk or contact the racecourse on 01978 780323.
The next racing at The Roodee is the 'May Festival' in 2005. Tickets are on sale. More information is on the website www.chester-races.co.uk or by calling 01244 304600. General e-mail inquiries to email@example.com