Beat That makes belated debut over fences
Signal 2 Beginners' Chase | 2m4f, 5yo+ | ATR
It has been long time coming, but Nicky Henderson finally gets the chance to send Beat That over fences in the Signal 2 Beginners' Chase at Uttoxeter on Sunday.
A dual Grade 1-winning hurdler, with victories in the Sefton Novices' Hurdle and another novice hurdle at the Punchestown festival, Beat That was one of the most exciting novices around in 2014, but since then he has made the track only twice, with his most recent start coming at Sandown last month.
That was his first run since January 2015, and he did show he still retains some ability when travelling well for a long way before fading into sixth in the Grade 2 Select Hurdle behind stablemate L'Ami Serge.
Henderson is looking forward to starting the nine-year-old's chase career, and said: "We were schooling him over fences three years ago so it has always been the plan, but he's had various ways of thwarting us.
"We've got a long way to go but in those glory days he was a very good horse. I'm not saying he's back to that but he ran a very good race at Sandown and this is a nice place to start."
Like Beat That, Black Corton will also make his debut over fences, having progressed well over hurdles since joining Paul Nicholls.
The six-year-old has not finished out of the first four in eight starts for Nicholls, winning four times, including a Listed race at Kempton last November.
Sam Twiston-Davies takes the ride, and he said: "We've been looking forward to jumping fences with him. It looks a competitive race but it's a nice place to start off.
"He can get a good experience under his belt and if he doesn't win tomorrow he definitely will next time."
Brother Tedd is still a maiden over fences, but it is not for the want of trying, as he went down narrowly to Shantou Village at Sandown last month.
He fell when leading at Wincanton in December, but he has generally ran well since starting over fences.
Vodka 'n Tonic, having his first start for 640 days, and 16-race maiden Mari Me Oscar complete the field.