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Cheltenham Festival not on the agenda for Eileendover

  • Pam Sly intends to skip the Cheltenham Festival with flying filly Eileendover
  • Eileendover is currently a 7/1 shot to win the Champion Bumper with Paddy Power
  • Sly claims the team will aim for the Mares' Flat Race at Aintree before running on the flat
Eileendover bolts up at Market Rasen. (Getty)

Racing purists celebrated wildly at Market Rasen over the weekend, as the powerhouse that is Willie Mullins was upstaged by Cambridgeshire's own Pam Sly.

Eileendover, who's owned and bred by Pam and her son, Michael Sly, took on Mullins' Grangee in the Listed Mares' Flat Race on Saturday. With a weight-for-age allowance on her side, Eileendover was well-supported in the build-up, and duly hacked up, leaving Grangee and Miss Lamb trailing six lengths in her wake.

Sly's budding stable star is now three from three in bumpers, having sealed 16 and 29-length victories on her first couple of starts. Paddy Power immediately cut Eileendover into 7/1 to win the 2021 Champion Bumper. Yet, when speaking to the press following her filly's latest win, Sly didn't seem keen on a trip to the Cheltenham Festival.

"I’m not overkeen on the Cheltenham one, especially with a four-year-old filly." Sly said. "I think that race can knock them off their perch, and they have a job to come back from it."

"I think the Aintree mares’ bumper is the ideal race for her. With Aintree, I can let her off for a whole month now and bring her back in the middle of February."

"After that, I don’t know whether I’d go for a handicap (on the flat) or even a Listed or a Group Three. I might be flying my kite a bit high, but you just don’t know until she is beaten."

The Bronte Cup, run at York at the end of May, is open only to fillies and mares of four and above, so that could be an option after Aintree's Grand National Festival. Later in the season, a run in the Ascot Stakes wouldn't be out of the question, while the Ebor Handicap - the richest handicap in Europe - would also be a realistic objective.

Since bursting onto the scene, Sly says she's recevied several offers for Eileendover. They've all been rebuffed, so far, with Sly eager to keep this talented filly on the family books.

"We’ve had lots of messages, and I did have one man ring, but she’s not for sale." Sly continued. "My son doesn’t want to sell – we want the fun ourselves, (and) also we breed as well. We’ve a few of her relatives to come."

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