Change of plan for Scudamore ace as Mysteree takes Cheltenham detour
Unicoin Group Handicap Chase | Grade 3 | 4yo+ | 3m2f | ITV4/RUK
Michael Scudamore has thrown caution and a long term plan to run in the Coral Welsh Grand National to the wind as stable star Mysteree instead makes his reappearance in this £45,000 Grade 3 handicap.
Scudamore had been working towards the Chepstow marathon on December 27 for last season’s Eider winner and Midlands Grand National runner-up but the shot at a big pot against just five rivals proved too good to resist.
“The Welsh National had been the plan but when you see only five have been declared in a race like this, we couldn’t be sat at home watching,” said the trainer.
"He does want soft ground that’s hard work and if we get there and it’s not like that we might have to think again, but hopefully he should be fine."
Asked about Mysteree's fitness for his seasonal reappearance, Scudamore added: "He’s had a few awaydays and his record first time out is pretty good. We’ve had a nice clear run and you’d hope he’d be as straight as you can get him at home."
National type Wotzizname on the up
Harry Fry had his eye on the staying novice chase earlier on the card for Wotzizname but, with £20,000 more on offer here, he did not take much persuading to change tack when the 15 entries were whittled down to just six runners.
“He came on leaps and bounds for his first run and went and won nicely at Exeter last time,” said Fry. “I was torn between the novice chase on the same card but we decided we’d let him take his chance in this race off his mark and see how we get on.
"There’s been more competitive Grade 3 chases run, that’s for sure. In time, we think he'll appreciate National trips.”
Southfield and Shanroe make quick returns
Two horses who were out of luck at Sandown’s Tingle Creek Chase meeting last weekend make quick reappearances with connections hoping for a change of fortune.
Southfield Theatre beat just one rival home in Saturday’s London National and tries blinkers for the first time here.
“He didn’t do a lot on Saturday and there were only five others in the race so we’re running again,” said trainer Paul Nicholls. “We’ve stuck a pair of blinkers on and hopefully they can sharpen him up again.
“He’s an older horse and there’s not a lot for him; hopefully the small field might suit him. He’s very in and out but does like Cheltenham.”
Shanroe Santos got no further than the second fence at Sandown last Friday, when second favourite for an amateur riders’ handicap chase.
“I think he got a bit unsettled when one unseated in front of him at the first and then the second comes up quite quickly and it was just one of those things,” explained trainer Lucy Wadham.
“Fortunately he’s fine and has schooled well since, so we’re giving him another go. I couldn’t believe how the race cut up and on his A-game I think he’s got a great each-way shout.”
Robinsfirth has Power on his side
Robinsfirth came up short against Midlands Grand National winner Chase The Spud at Haydock last month but, with 24 lengths back to the third, there were plenty of positives.
Fourth in another competitive handicap chase at Cheltenham’s October meeting before that, he has the assistance of Robbie Power in the saddle for the all-conquering Colin Tizzard team.
The field is completed by the David Pipe-trained Abracadabra Sivola, who wears a tongue tie for the first time as he tries to put three disappointing runs behind him.
Pipe said: "He's been a little bit in and out but with the small field we thought he should take his chance. We'll probably hold him up."
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