Honeyball out to strike while the iron is hot with in-form Ms Parfois
Anthony Honeyball says he could not leave last Friday's Cheltenham winner Ms Parfois in her stable while Newbury stages a £25,000 2m7½f Listed mares' novice chase (2.05) on Wednesday.
Ms Parfois won a dramatic mares' handicap chase over two miles five furlongs at Cheltenham, but it was this race that had been on connections' minds, with Honeyball of the opinion it could be the perfect contest for her.
"This is the sort of race we had earmarked for her," Honeyball said on Tuesday. "It can be a short season and we need to take full advantage of these opportunities.
"Although it wasn't an easy win at Cheltenham, she was in it to just be doing enough to win and she's come out of it well, so we thought running with novices around Newbury, that big galloping track, would be just what she wants."
On the quick turnaround, Honeyball added: "If it doesn't come off then, touch wood, she'll be alright, she'll learn from it and we can give her a nice break then.
"When we saw the race, we thought you couldn't create a better one for her and we have to strike while the iron is hot. You never know until you run them but she was absolutely bouncing back into the parade ring at Cheltenham and there's nothing to tell us there's anything to worry about at home.
"There's not a mark on her, she's sound as a pound and she shouldn't be in her stable when there's a race like this."
She is joined among the seven runners by stablemate Tacenda, who Honeyball also believes will be suited by the conditions. Noel Fehily had the choice of the two mares and opted to stick with Ms Parfois.
Tara Mist also heads into the race on the back of a win last time for Henry Daly, while the Ben Pauling-trained Two Swallows was beaten most recently by the reopposing Tacenda in a Fontwell race that also included Surtee Du Berlais.
The consistent Happy Diva, for Kerry Lee, and Colin Tizzard-trained Morello Royale complete the line-up.
Every little helps
If Nigel Twiston-Davies is to make a serious challenge for the trainers' championship then it would do him no harm to pick up the sort of valuable midweek races being staged at Ludlow on Wednesday.
The trainer has made no secret of the fact he believes he would need to claim races like the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and Randox Health Grand National if he is to come out on top against the powerful Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson yards, and it is easy to understand that thinking.
However, with £27,500 on offer for the 2m Tanners Wine Handicap Chase (1.20) and a further £25,000 up for grabs shortly afterwards in the Tanners Champagne Handicap Chase (2.30), Twiston-Davies will be hopeful of edging nearer still to the £1 million mark and joining Nicholls as the only trainer to hit seven figures so far this season.
Twiston-Davies landed the first of the two valuable contests 12 months ago with the returning Colin's Brother, while Ballykan steps down in grade having not been able to land a blow in an Ascot Grade 3 last time.
"Colin's Brother won the race last year, so we're having another go as it hopefully doesn't look like the strongest race," said the trainer.
"Ballykan always runs well and I think he'll like the better ground that they're advertising."
On the prospect of pocketing the prizes, Twiston-Davies added: "They're lovely races and it would be a great help to win them."
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