No concerns about Lalor going straight to the Arkle, says Kayley Woollacott
Well Chief and Western Warhorse both won the Arkle on just their second chase starts, and Kayley Woollacott has no concerns that inexperience will hinder her stable star Lalor in the Racing Post-backed novice chase championship at the Cheltenham Festival.
The five-time winner, who is a general 5-1 for the Arkle, had been pencilled in for the Napoleons Casino & Restaurant Owlerton Sheffield Lightning Novices' Chase at Doncaster on Saturday, but connections were happy to bypass that given conditions on Town Moor.
Owned by David Staddon, the German-bred son of It's Gino was impressive on his chase debut in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham in November before a 12-length third in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown.
Woollacott said: "There are no concerns about going straight to the Arkle as all of his best runs have come off the back of a long break before, so we won't have concerns going straight there.
"You've got to do what's best for him and he's shown he can do the business after a break. I'd be concerned trying to get a run in beforehand, trying to go to Warwick for the Kingmaker, and then getting him to Cheltenham in the right shape. He'll probably have a racecourse gallop though."
Woollacott, who had walked the track at Doncaster, added on Saturday morning: "It was just the ground there. I looked at it on Wednesday after the sales. They've been watering, but I just felt it was a bit chancey to run.
"He's in great order and he'd want, good, good to soft at Cheltenham, but there's a difference between that and watered ground. I'd have kicked myself if something had gone wrong and we can't afford to take those chances."
Despite Lalor's defeat in the Henry VIII, Woollacott is losing no faith in her leading light.
She continued: "It was very soft at Sandown and he still ran creditably. If he'd have won a little novice chase at Uttoxeter and was then third in a Grade 1 we'd all be looking at it differently, but he was so good at Cheltenham in November and that's how we hope to get him back there in March."
Did you know you can bet via the Racing Post mobile app/website? Simply sign in with your favourite bookmaker via the Accounts button and then bet direct from our racecards