No Thistle to crack as Bigbadjohn heads market
Bigbadjohn, no match for the mighty Thistlecrack at Newbury in November, was on Monday no bigger than 6-1 to land Saturday's Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster.
Some 85 minutes after Thistlecrack puts his Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup claims on the line in the BetBright Cotswold Chase, Bigbadjohn is set to give the form of Newbury's Worcester Novices' Chase another workout.
Beaten eight lengths by the Gold Cup favourite that day, he was among 22 horses confirmed for Saturday's Listed prize and heads the betting, although trainer Rebecca Curtis does not want testing conditions.
Two other races on Doncaster's card – the Sky Bet Lightning Novices' Chase and the olbg.com Doncaster Mares' Hurdle, both Grade 2s –were reopened after insufficent entries, but 19 horses were engaged in the Albert Bartlett River Don Novices' Hurdle.
They include the JP McManus-owned Kimberlite Candy, also a possible for Cheltenham's Neptune Investment Management Classic Novices' Hurdle on Saturday.
His trainer Tom Lacey said: "I'd have to speak to the team as one would imagine Barry Geraghty would have a few rides for JP at Cheltenham. I wouldn't be worried about trip, but would think ground would have something to do with where he runs; he'd want it on the easier side."