Enki set to tackle fences for the first time in Britain
32Red.com Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase (Class 2) | 2m7f | 4yo+ | RUK/CH4
Venetia Williams pits Yala Enki over fences for the first time in Britain and the gutsy six-year-old tops the weights in this competitive 16-runner handicap.
The front-running Lanzarote Hurdle winner has previous chasing experience in France where he won twice from eight outings over fences and he made an encouraging seasonal appearance when third in the Betfair Exchange Hurdle at the course last month. Charlie Deutsch returns on board for the first time since that Listed victory at Kempton and claims 5lb.
David Pipe was successful in the race in 2014 with Broadway Buffalo and saddles Top Wood on this occasion, with the nine-year-old having unseated on his last outing in the Kim Muir when travelling well.
The Philip Hobbs-trained Vieux Lille enters handicap company for the first time and he carries useful hurdle form into the race having come home third in heavy conditions at Haydock in the Grade 2 SkyBet Supreme Novices' Trial in January.
Favourites don't have a great record in the race with Cloudy Lane the last market leader to deliver in 2007 for Donald McCain. However, all but one of the last ten winners has returned at 10-1 or less.
What they say
Venetia Williams, trainer of Yala Enki
It's a competitive race but we hope he will acquit himself well. It's his first run over fences in Britain so we'll see how he gets on.
David Pipe, trainer of Top Wood
He's been a bit unlucky as he fell when going well in the Kim Muir and was going okay again last time. He'll enjoy the conditions, and on his best form he would have a chance in an open race.
Jonjo O’Neill, trainer of Upswing
He’s in good shape and will go on the ground, but it looks a tough race.
Philip Hobbs, trainer of Vieux Lille
Vieux Lille needed a bit of experience and improved from his first run over fences. Soft ground and 3m will suit him well and hopefully he will have a strong each-way chance.
Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Little Jon
He ran okay last time and he's got the mud that he likes and so we are hoping for an improved run.
Malcolm Jefferson, trainer of Trickaway
He's in good nick. I don't think he beat an awful lot at Kelso last time but he's schooled well since.
Dan Skelton, trainer of Corrin Wood
He's run two good races over hurdles and now we've got to see how he gets on back over fences.
Anthony Honeyball, trainer of As De Fer
He had the run at Lingfield which was a little on the quick side at two and a half miles. Two miles seven furlongs on soft ground are his proper conditions. He has a nice weight and has won at this level before so we hope he can be very competitive.