down cross

'Completely different' Vinndication back on track for JLT after schooling

Vinndication (left): was an impressive winner at Ascot in December
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The JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham, which is the first race on Thursday's card, gained a couple of unexpected extra runners on Friday in the form of Capeland and Vinndication.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Capeland, winner of three of his nine chase starts, was supplemented at a cost of £7,500, while Vinndication is now set to line up despite disappointing connections in a gallop at Newbury last weekend.

Capeland's owner Kathy Stuart said: "We've got him in the Arkle, but Paul thinks the distance of the JLT will be more suitable. That's the plan.

"He's a nice, progressive horse who has never been out of the first two in nine runs over fences. We're hoping for a good run."

Bookmakers installed Capeland at between 16-1 and 25-1, while reintroducing Vinndication at 8-1, in a market headed by Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation at 3-1.

Vinndication delighted Bailey in a schooling session on Friday, in contrast to his work at Newbury, sparking a change of plan.

Vinndication was sent off 11-8 favourite for the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown last month, but finished a lacklustre third behind Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation.

Bailey said: "The ground was very soft at Newbury last Sunday, but I was very happy with his schooling this morning so we've decided to leave him in the race.

"I saw a completely different horse in Vinndication than the horse I saw at Newbury. I'm convinced it was the ground at Sandown, and at Newbury, that was the cause of his disappointing run and gallop. 

"This morning he was electric over our fences and as a result I have changed my mind and confirmed him for the JLT."

One horse who will not be going to Cheltenham on Thursday is Honeysuckle, who was ruled out of the Grade 2 mares' novice hurdle, for which she had been 7-2 second favourite.

Trainer Henry de Bromhead explained: "We're not 100 per cent happy with her and she won't be confirmed for the Cheltenham race."

De Bromhead will, however, still be represented in Thursday's race by dual hurdles winner Sinoria.

The highlights on Thursday are the Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle, for which 28 remain after Friday's forfeit stage, while the Ryanair Chase has 18 left in. Footpad heads the market for the Ryanair but also has an entry in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. 

Nicky Henderson, meanwhile, delivered a further update on Santini's prospects of running in Wednesday's RSA Chase.

The long-time ante-post favourite was sore and lame at the beginning of the week as a result of losing a shoe while schooling at Newbury last Sunday.

Henderson said on his Unibet blog: "Unfortunately he wasn't as good this morning and the issue has reared its ugly head again so we had to remove the shoe and put a poultice back on his foot.

"It's a very common issue and in any normal circumstances you'd give them a few days off to allow the foot to heal and then carry on, but because we're in a race against time we've had to crack on which has led us back here.

"I think we are better than going back to square one, and am still hopeful we'll get there in time."  


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I am convinced it was the ground at Sandown and again at Newbury that was the cause of his disappointing run and gallop
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