Versatile Fox Norton bidding to prove an all-round superstar
BoyleSports Champion Chase (Grade 1) | 2m | RTE1/ATR
He has just put up a tip-top performance over two and a half miles and there is already talk of a three-mile target next winter, yet he drops back to two miles this time – and Fox Norton could have the class to carry it off.
Ann and Alan Potts's seven-year-old romped home in the 2m4f Melling Chase at Aintree, scoring easing down by six lengths under Robbie Power, and was earmarked for the 32Red King George VI Chase afterwards.
But he had raced solely at around two miles prior to then and was no slouch over the shortest trip, being beaten just a head by Special Tiara when second in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March.
"I've made no secret that I think that you saw the best of him over two and a half miles, but he very nearly won the Champion Chase," said trainer Colin Tizzard.
'It'll end up being a staying race'
"He made up five lengths after the last. I'm sure there'll be a nice, fast pace and it'll end up being a staying race. I'm looking forward to it."
Fox Norton was sidelined for three months in mid-season due to a bad cut, but that could give him a freshness advantage here.
Tizzard said: "He had that spell where he didn't race from November until February – sometimes these things happen that aren't planned but work to your advantage.
"He's fine and he's a lovely, enthusiastic horse. If he runs his race he'll take a lot of beating."
Pro Relatively fresh chaser who was a top-class winner at Aintree
Con Benefited from the step up to two and a half miles that day and needs to prove himself as effective back at minimum trip