Midnight Chase races off a 5lb higher mark than when he last won the racePICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Chase out to continue brilliant Cheltenham run
CHELTENHAM specialist Midnight Chase, a winner of five of his nine starts at the track, will bid to win the Grade 3 Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Chase for the second time off a 5lb higher mark than when he was last successful in the race two years ago.
Fifth and seventh in the last two Gold Cups, Midnight Chase's Cheltenham form figures outside of the March Grade 1 showpiece read 2311111.
It is a breathtaking record at the home of jump racing and trainer Neil Mulholland is hopeful it can continue. He said: "The two horses who finished in front of him in the Charlie Hall have both won since, he is fit and well and we know he likes the track.
"The Charlie Hall wasn't his Gold Cup and you would expect 90 per cent of ten-year-olds to come on for their first run of the season. I would prefer to see no more rain but if the ground stays unchanged I'll be delighted as his best run came in the Argento Chase on good to soft."
The 9-2 second favourite faces stiff competition from several other course specialists if he is to enhance his impressive Prestbury Park record with three other course winners and former Festival runner-up Becauseicouldn'tsee all in opposition.
Planet Of Sound, third in Forpadydeplasterer's Arkle, also lines up in a high quality field for which the Fergal O'Brien-trained Bradley is the 7-2 favourite.
The ground at Cheltenham was on Thursday described as good to soft, soft in places, but parts of the cross-country course remained frozen and an inspection has been scheduled for 8am.
Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: "All the forecasts seem to support a prediction for warmer air temperatures and rain tonight into tomorrow.
"Early this afternoon it got above freezing for the first time since Monday and it won't take much rain to thaw out the cross-country course, but there are of course no guarantees with these forecasts."
The rain is also expected to alter the going to soft.