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King taking it one step at a time as Yanworth returns to Exeter for next test

Yanworth: off the mark over fences at Exeter last month
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3.00 Exeter
RGB Building Supplies Novices' Chase | 4yo+ | 2m3f | RUK  

Yanworth heads to Exeter on Wednesday to take the next steps of a novice chase campaign connections hope will culminate in Cheltenham Festival glory, although trainer Alan King is no nearer deciding which race he will be aimed at in March.

The seven-year-old faces just three rivals on Wednesday when he returns to the scene of last month's pleasing chase debut with Barry Geraghty, who had a sit on him at King's Barbury Castle yard on Thursday, again in the saddle.

A winner of 11 of his 15 appearances, the JP McManus-Yanworth is 20-1 for the Racing Post Arkle, 12-1 for the RSA Novices' Chase and 8-1 for the JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham, but his trainer has only Wednesday's £11,500 heat at the forefront of his mind.

King said in his Racing Post Weekender column: "His chasing debut went well last month, he warmed to the task through the race and we were delighted with him – and relieved, as there are always huge expectations when a hurdler as good as him switches to fences.

"We were keen to take him back to Exeter as we like running novices there. It's a good track for them, and this race fits in time-wise as it's three weeks and a day from that debut. The two-and-a-half-mile trip should be ideal.

"But I should stress that we haven't looked beyond Wednesday for him. We're taking it one race at a time at the moment and we'll get this out of the way before we make another plan."

Set to line up in opposition are Llancillo Lord, a handicap hurdle winner at Naas last year, smart mare Briery Queen and French import Chameron, a four-year-old making his debut for Paul Nicholls.

Nicholls said of Chameron in a recent stable tour: "A big, backward individual who was unbeaten in two starts at Auteuil before he came here just over a year ago with quite a big reputation.

"But I was never really happy with him and he didn’t come to hand, so in the end I gave him a year off. Rather than pitch him into handicaps hurdles off a high mark with limited experience, we’re more or less forced to go chasing with him."


Read Alan King's exclusive column in the Racing Post Weekender – out every Wednesday

We were keen to take him back to Exeter as we like running novices there
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