WHAT IS CORNERSTONE LAD'S REAL CHANCE AT CHELTENHAM.
Cornerstone Lad was bought for £9,000 at the Doncaster breeze up sales back in 2016. His Dam Chapel Corner had produced two previous foals, a sprinting filly and a moderate staying gelding, so on breeding the price was about right. When Micky buys at the sales it is generally with the idea of buying a dual purpose horse who can provide excitement for the owner under both codes, and what Micky saw in Cornerstone Lad was size and scope, he was always going to be a long term project, meaning you need a very patient owner, which thankfully this horse has.
Cornerstone Lad has improved and improved having been given plenty of time and a lot of luck. He finished his three year old flat season rated 67, then immediately went juvenile hurdling winning by eight lengths at Hexham on debut. He ran a further six times that season never finishing out of the first three. After a six month break he returned to go handicapping off a mark of 129 at Wetherby, finishing second and offering hope that he would make up in to a good handicapper. Over the next fifteen months he has officially improved a further thirty pounds.
Many said that he was gifted an easy lead when winning the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle and they may have a point, but what happened at Haydock in their Champion Hurdle trial seven weeks later was definitely no fluke as Cornerstone Lad gave six pounds to the winner Ballyandy, and two pounds to the runner up Pentlands Hill who is currently second favourite on Tuesday, and was beaten less than a length. The point is, Cornerstone Lad has improved with each run, and if he improves again then he is the one they will all have to worry about. His official mark of 159 is equal or very close to the best of these. Realistically it would be a dream come true to finish in the first four, but as long as he does himself justice and comes back safe, that is all that matters.
Good luck to his very patient and proud owner Mrs Lofthouse.
Cornerstone Lad in the very safe hands of 'G' the lad who looks after him.