Cheltenham Competition winner L’Homme Presse steps into open firm for the primary time when he reappears within the Betfair Alternate Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle om Saturday, stay on Sky Sports activities Racing at 3.25pm.
Venetia Williams’ seven-year-old, 10/1 for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March, was attributable to return at Ascot final Saturday, however drying floor noticed him withdrawn on the day and rerouted to Gosforth Park the place he can be tasked with carrying top-weight in what is usually a fiercely-competitive handicap.
The forward-going, super-slick jumper was ultra-progressive final season racking up 5 straight fences victories, which included triumphs within the Dipper at Cheltenham on New 12 months’s Day and the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown, earlier than stepping as much as three miles with aplomb to land the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase on the Competition.
Though his season ended with defeat at Aintree, that was his sole false transfer in an in any other case wonderful novice marketing campaign and his handler is trying ahead to seeing him again on observe.
“He has to provide loads of weight away to some good horses which can be a primary for him, however it will likely be good to get him again on the course and we stay up for his run,” stated Williams. “He ran properly all final season and improved massively in the course of the course of the season. Now he has to compete at a excessive stage and we stay up for seeing how he handles it.”
In style defending champion Aye Proper makes an attempt to do the double off a 6lb increased mark and joint-trainer Harriet Graham is optimistic of one other daring displaying following a decent reappearance when second at Kelso.
“We’re excited and hopeful and he appears rather well at dwelling,” stated Graham. “Clearly it’s fairly a troublesome name and there is a couple on fairly a pleasant, low weight who look a bit progressive and clearly Venetia’s horse is there as properly. Really, we have been fairly happy about that because it meant the weights did not go up and is useful to us, however on the flip aspect it’s a top-quality horse to tackle.
“Kelso was a very nice prep run. He clearly acquired completed on the improper finish of the race by what was in all probability a handily-handicapped horse, and it’s tough with him as he solely ever runs a method, so it’s sort of apparent what he’s doing. If he will get a superb begin and will get into a superb rhythm, then he can break the opposite horses’ hearts, however they’re all the time barely stalking him.
“However we’re very hopeful and Craig Nicol, who rode him rather well at Kelso, rides him once more.”
Sandy Thomson received the race in 2020 with Yorkhill and appears to win it for the second time in three years with Dingo Greenback, who was third to Aye Proper 12 months in the past and tuned up for this with an emphatic eight-and-a-half-length victory at Aintree earlier this month.
He stated: “The handicapper hasn’t completed him any favours for beating a number of older horses and a few that did not keep (at Aintree). However he is very properly and fairly than lumping 12 stone round Haydock subsequent Wednesday, there’s nothing else for him. He’ll go and take his probability and he’ll run a pleasant race definitely, however he is now 10 and within the veteran stage.”
Mark Walford’s Into Overdrive has proved extraordinarily versatile and appears to increase a four-race profitable run having taken his kind to the subsequent stage at Wetherby most not too long ago.
“He is been unbelievable,” the coach informed Sky Sports activities Racing. “His seasonal reappearance at Wetherby was his finest run but after somewhat little bit of a break and we’re anticipating him to return on for that as properly.
“He’ll be encountering softer floor at Newcastle, however that is one thing we have thought he’ll deal with – it should not be an excessive amount of of an issue.
“Us trainers are identified for moaning on the handicapper, however that was one scenario I used to be really fairly happy with – I assumed he may have gone up a few kilos extra (after Wetherby). If he’d jumped the final three properly, he’d have been an much more convincing winner.
“He acquired a bit lonely in entrance and we’ll be conscious of that at Newcastle.”
Kim Bailey’s Happygolucky was a runner-up on the Cheltenham Competition earlier than going one higher in a aggressive race at Aintree in 2021 however has an extended absence of 595 days to defy having missed the entire of the 2021-22 season.
Bailey stated: “I am very pleased with him. He was meant to go to Cheltenham two weeks in the past. He did a pleasant piece of labor earlier this week and we’re trying ahead to it.
“Each coach goes around the bend (with the bottom). I really feel so sorry for these clerks of the course. All these racecourses are ingesting water like drunks.”
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