Cheltenham Festival 2021: Kim Bailey stars Imperial Aura and First Flow on course for Ryanair and Champion Chase

KIM Bailey is putting his stable stars through their paces with the Cheltenham Festival just 27 days away.

Imperial Aura and First Flow are reported in good nick ahead of the Ryanair and Champion Chase respectively.

Imperial Aura, who was a winner at the Festival last year, blotted his copybook when unseating David Bass at Kempton last month.

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But he had previously impressed at Carlisle and Ascot, and Bailey is content to head straight to Cheltenham without another run.

He said: "He schooled this morning, Ciaran Gethings stayed on him this morning which was important!

"It's all systems go. He did his first serious piece of work after a break on Monday. I'm very happy with him.

"We decided that we were never going to run after Kempton, no matter what happened. We thought it was good to give him a bit of a break when we had the opportunity and then build him back up for Cheltenham.

"The other option was to run at Ascot this weekend, but I thought it was too close to Cheltenham if he had a hard race, and (the Ryanair) is the aim."

First Flow has gone from strength to strength this winter, providing his trainer with a first Grade 1 win in 26 years last time out, and he is gradually building towards a crack at Chacun Pour Soi.

Bailey said: "He is not back to work yet but he is just cantering, he is a very happy horse at the moment, rather like his trainer.

"He would be a horse who would certainly like it to be quite soft at Cheltenham.

"The great thing about (clerk of the course) Simon Claisse is that he always makes sure it's pretty soft for the first day, whatever happens.

"It's a big ask for him but he deserves to be there. "

Imperial Aura is 6-1 for the Ryanair with Betway, while First Flow is 10-1 behind 4-6 jolly Chacun Pour Soi in the Champion Chase.

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