Fry wants overnight rain for American handicap mission
Betfred TV Novices' Handicap Chase | 5yo+ | 3m2y | ITV4/ATR
American could have been on Harry Fry's Cheltenham Festival team but will aim to maintain his rise through the novice ranks on hoped-for softer ground at Uttoxeter.
With the track drying all week Fry decided not to risk him in the RSA Chase, for which he was towards the front rank of ante-post contenders.
Lightly raced American has won both starts this season, including a Listed prize at Warwick where he beat Champers On Ice, as a result of which he has top weight here.
Fry said: "We were looking forward to running him in the RSA but the ground dictated he came here. He has to carry top weight but I'm hoping they get the forecast rain overnight. The more rain the better.
"He's in really good form. He's giving weight to the field, which won't be easy, but he has been going the right way over fences. If he was going to run a good race in the RSA he'd have to go well in this."
Rock The Kasbah started favourite for last year's Coral Cup only to disappoint, but he was back in the winner's circle last time.
"He's taken time to get his confidence together but hopefully that's now much better after winning at Chepstow last time," said trainer Philip Hobbs. "I'm hoping he has a good each-way chance."
Tom George is another who wants rain for Wild West Wind following his defeat when moved up in grade at Exeter last time. He had won his previous two chases and showed a willing attitude when grinding out victory at Hereford last month.
"At Exeter last time it was nearer good to soft and it’s important we get some rain," said George. "He's a four-miler in due course but we thought we'd hold on a bit longer before stepping him up to extreme distances next season."
Crosspark had Thursday's Cheltenham winner Domesday Book among his victims last time, and trainer Caroline Bailey said: "His Leicester form has worked out, with the third winning the Kim Muir. He stays well but it's a very competitive race."
Tim Vaughan, trainer of Tanit River, said: "The last time he ran it was too short and the ground was too dry. Softer conditions, back up to three miles and a handy racing weight will help."