Who can follow Denman and Bobs Worth's lead by landing Grade 2 novice chase?
Friday: 12.40 Newbury
Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Novices' Chase (Grade 2) | 2m4f | 4yo+ | RTV
The Long Distance Hurdle takes centre stage at Newbury but the other Grade 2 on the seven-race card does not feature on the ITV3 coverage. It is not one to be missed though as four talented novice chasers bid to follow in some rather illustrious footsteps.
Denman, Remittance Man, Bobs Worth and Coneygree landed this event on the way to bigger and better things and Edgcote trainer Alex Hales is hoping last season’s Aintree Hurdle third Millers Bank can add his name to the roll of honour.
Millers Bank made a faultless start to his chasing career when an easy winner at Huntingdon last month and steps up in grade in a tight-knit event featuring 2020 Betfair Hurdle winner Pic D’Orhy, Grade 1-placed juvenile hurdler Nassalam and the progressive Tea Clipper.
Hales said: “He was impressive at Huntingdon, we’ve not missed a beat with him since and this is an ideal stepping stone. He’s the best we’ve had and deserves to take his chance. It’s a very tight contest and all four are in with a shout.”
Nassalam, a novice handicap chase winner at Ascot last month, finished second to Adagio in the Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow in January and the four-year-old receives 9lb from Millers Bank and Pic D’Orhy and a stone from Tea Clipper.
Trainer Gary Moore said: “He’ll have to take full advantage of the four-year-old weight allowance but I’m very hopeful he can run well and any rain would be helpful. There’s three good horses in opposition and I have a lot of respect for them.”
Tea Clipper carries a 5lb penalty for a Listed novice chase success at Chepstow on his return. He finished third in handicap hurdles at Cheltenham and Aintree in the spring and is held in high regard by Tom Lacey.
He said: “I thought he did it very well at Chepstow last time, he's obviously got a penalty and has to give a stone to the four-year-old [Nassalam], but he goes there in good shape, If he's the horse we hope he is then he should run a creditable race and I'm sure he will. The ground will be fine.”
The Paul Nicholls-trained Pic D’Orhy failed to win on his first four chase starts but equalled his best Racing Post Rating over hurdles when landing a novice handicap chase at Ffos Las on his reappearance.
Nicholls said: “He ran a very nice race the last day. I was pleased, he did everything well and jumped great. The trip is as far as he wanted to go but he stayed on strong towards the end. It’s a competitive race but we'd like to think he goes there with a chance.”
Nicholls is seeking a fifth victory in the race, with dual King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux also on the honour roll.
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