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Highland Lodge

Highland Lodge (jumping) could be a horse for the Hennessy at Newbury

  PICTURE: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images  

Highland could have RSA prep at Warwick

EMMA LAVELLE could run 22-length Cheltenham novice chase winner Highland Lodge at Warwick on January 12, with the 3m½f Betfred Mobile Lotto Novices' Chase a potential stepping stone to the RSA Chase back at Prestbury Park in March.

Highland Lodge, a best-priced 20-1 for the novice staying chase, would only go to Cheltenham if the ground were soft, but with a long-term target of the Hennessy a run in the RSA would be a bonus, given the great success the leading second-season chasers have enjoyed at Newbury.

Speaking in the Weekender, Lavelle said: "He is a proper horse, who has done little wrong, in fact he has won four of his six races under Rules to date, having come here as a point-to-point winner.

"He showed plenty as a hurdler but was always going to thrive over the larger obstacles and we weren't at all surprised when he won on his chasing debut at Towcester in November.

"An excellent third to Harry Topper at Newbury in the Grade 2 Worcester Novices' Chase in November was followed by an impressive 22-length success over Our Father at Cheltenham last month. I think we have to put that last run into perspective a little as Our Father didn't run up to his best form, but that said they were a long way clear of the remainder.

"My horse is the sort that one day I would like to think could be a Hennessy candidate if the ground came up soft at Newbury. As for this year, if it were softer than usual then he would go for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, but it would need to be very soft.

"As soon as the ground dries up he will stop and wait until next autumn. There is a 3m novices' chase at Warwick in a fortnight's time which is his next objective."

To read Lavelle's thoughts on Claret Cloak, Court In Motion, Kentford Grey Lady, Tocca Ferro and others, pick up a copy of the Weekender - available to buy Wednesday

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