Alan King hoping wait for good ground pays dividends with Mia's Storm
Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Novices' Chase (Grade 2) | 2m4f 100yd | 5yo+ | ITV/RUK
The Maple Street Partnership and trainer Alan King have shown the patience of Job through the monsoon season with their classy mare Mia's Storm.
After her fall when looking held behind Black Corton in the Grade 1 Kauto Star at Kempton on Boxing Day Mia's Storm has stayed in her box on planned racedays, missing Cheltenham and Aintree, with the rain hammering on her roof.
The eight-year-old mare has won all her five races when the ground has been officially good, as it is at Ayr on Saturday, and connections hope the daughter of September Storm will repay their patience.
King said: "I hope she gets the chance to show what she can do. She's a smart mare who's much better than she showed on the soft at Kempton on Boxing Day."
Paul Nicholls is hoping to win the race for the third time in the last seven years (Pacha Du Polder in 2012 and Le Mercurey two years ago) with Adrien du Pont, who has chased home some of the top novices this season in being placed behind the likes of Sceau Royal, Willoughby Court and Coney Island.
Nicholls said: "He'll like the ground. A mistake going down the hill probably cost him at Ascot and he also had a little bleed afterwards, but only because he had smacked himself. He has a chance."
Dan Skelton runs outsider Cobra De Mai, who has run well on softer ground since having a wind operation but had shown her best form on good going previously.
"He's improving rapidly and will love the track and ground," said Skelton.
ITV commentator Richard Hoiles will have to be in top form as Ayr's better ground and good prize-money has drawn big fields with £40,000 and £100,000 handicap chases setting up the Scottish National.
Richard Johnson rides the topweight Keeper Hill in the richer Dawn Homes Novices' Championship Handicap Chase (2.20) for trainer Warren Greatrex.
The champion jockey said: "He’s been a bit unlucky on his last two starts as he’s usually a very sound jumper. He has just made a couple of small mistakes that have led to him falling.
"He schooled really well during the week and I’d like to think he’s got a solid chance in what looks a very competitive race."
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