Thomson to make Betfair entry for star as he considers options
The Betfair Chase will be one of several options for "gentle giant" Seeyouatmidnight after trainer Sandy Thomson decided to enter the exciting chaser for the Haydock showpiece on November 19.
The eight-year-old put in an exemplary round of jumping when beating two-time Grade 1 winner Bristol De Mai in the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Chase at Carlisle on Sunday, after which Coral and Betfred cut Seeyouatmidnight to 12-1 (from 16) for the Hennessy Gold Cup on November 26.
However, Thomson has warned his star chaser, owned by wife Quona, is by no means a certain a runner in Newbury's flagship handicap chase, with the long-distance travelling and a potential sound surface among concerns.
Berwickshire-based Thomson said on Monday: "We're making the entry for the Betfair Chase and the race is certainly an option. We have to consider that Newbury is a hell of a long way from us so we wouldn't be going there unless the ground is soft, and it has been a particularly dry autumn so far.
"There's a slight concern the Betfair Chase might come too soon but if we don't make the entry we don't have the option, so we'll assess how he is and what the ground will be like closer to the time.
"He seems fine this morning – he has one or two nicks but nothing serious. We had a quiet night yesterday as we have covered quite a few miles in the last four days, but we did enjoy watching the replay again. It was a great performance – it would give me a thrill to watch anyone's horse jump like that, let alone our own."
Entries for the Betfair Chase are published on Wednesday, and the Haydock race is the first leg of three in Jockey Club Racecourses' £1 million triple crown, the others being the 32Red King George VI Chase and the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Cheltenham, however, is not at the forefront of Thomson's mind, He said: "The Gold Cup is not our long-term aim. For the big guns, they can tailor a horse's campaign solely for that one race in March, whereas for us there are plenty of big prizes to go for before then, and it's far too big a gamble to wait until March and then the ground dries up.
"The Gold Cup isn't the be-all-and-end-all. Perhaps we'll give him an entry but it depends how he fares in the next two or three months."
Seeyouatmidnight has proven himself an extremely talented chaser, but what is he like away from the track?
Thomson said: "He's a really nice horse, a gentle giant. He's extremely laid-back, almost too laid-back some days and you have to work quite hard on him, but when he gets to the track he comes alive. It's exciting times. We'll enjoy the Carlisle victory with a little staff gathering tonight."