1.00 Plumpton: the one race you can't afford to miss on Monday
Download The Free At The Races App Chase (A Novices' Limited Handicap) | 2m3½f | 4yo+ | Sky
Why is it interesting?
This Class 3 chase is one of five qualifying races for the 2019-20 Cheltenham Bonus, which offers a £60,000 bonus to the winner of one of the five novice chases at Plumpton and a chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
The bonus, which was won by Arkle winner Voy Por Ustedes in the 2005-06 season, offers £50,000 to the winning owner, £5,000 to the trainer and the remaining £5,000 to stable staff in the trainer's yard.
This race has an eyecatching roll of honour with last year's winner, Master Malarky, subsequently winning the Grade 2 Reynoldstown before finishing fourth behind Topofthegame in the RSA Chase.
A final field of five have been declared and Champagne Court catches the eye after making an impressive winning debut over fences at Sandown this month. The six-year-old has to give upwards of 5lb to his opponents but he has the potential to reach a high level over fences.
Gary Moore usually comes away with a winner or two at his local track and is doubly represented this time with Diable De Sivola and Gleno, while Mercy Mercy Me is an interesting runner for Paul Nicholls. The Nick Gifford-trained Fairway Freddy completes the line-up.
What do the stats say?
Nick Gifford has been operating at a 38 per cent strike-rate over the last two weeks and is represented by two-time hurdle winner Fairway Freddy.
Champagne Court holds the highest rating on official figures, 5lb ahead of Diable De Sivola.
What do connections say?
Jeremy Scott, trainer of Champagne Court
I hope he'll run well, but the question mark would be heavy ground, so I'll monitor conditions overnight. I think the handicapper is going to give us a spanking for that Sandown win, so we'll go for this under a 7lb penalty. He's always been a good jumper at home and we thought he'd be better as a chaser than hurdler. He's the sort of horse we could have a lot of fun with in big handicaps when he's fully matured.
Gleno didn't get any further than the first fence last time, which is why he's turning out this soon. He'll have to up his game as Champagne Court looks a very decent horse but the small field should suit. I was pleased with Diable De Sivola at Ascot last time as he needed the run, so hopefully he can give a good account.
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Mercy Mercy Me
It's his first run over fences and he ran okay the other day without setting the world alight. Hopefully, fences bring some improvement and the ground should be fine.
What do our tipsters say?
Mercy Mercy Me heads over fences on just his second start for Paul Nicholls and with form on soft/heavy ground merits ample respect. However, despite carrying a 7lb penalty for his Sandown win the most logical choice is the Jeremy Scott-trained Champagne Court. A capable hurdler, he also showed himself to be a proficient chaser with an authoritative display of fencing last time, and that counts for plenty with some tricky downhill fences to negotiate at this track.
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