Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Novices' Chase (Grade 2) | 2m4f | 4yo+ | ITV3/RTV
Those who think small-field Graded chases do not require full attention would have missed the first major announcement in the chasing careers of Bobs Worth, Dynaste, Coneygree, Clan Des Obeaux and Champ, who all took this race.
None of those horses won this in a field larger than six, although admittedly none did so in such a small field of three. It is also noted that only Bobs Worth was making his debut over fences. All three runners this year arrive with a reasonable amount of experience.
Getaway Trump has had six runs over fences and, strictly speaking, boasts the best form this season. It came around Fakenham though, in a notably muddling race. The market is right to make him the outsider of a classy three.
A lot of buzz still surrounds Fiddlerontheroof, who made his name in Sandown's uniquely testing ground as a novice hurdler by winning the Tolworth. His two runs over fences have been solid, rather than spectacular, and he was hard pressed to beat a horse last time in Silver Hallmark, who was rated 27lb lower over hurdles, admittedly from fewer attempts.
Caribean Boy will remain a novice only until Monday, as he won over fences at Haydock in February. That day he beat The Big Bite convincingly off level weights in a time that caught the eye. The runner-up defied a slightly higher mark at Aintree on his reappearance, so with Caribean Boy the collateral form agrees with the more numerical assessments. He will certainly pose Fiddlerontheroof's toughest test yet.
'He's come on a bundle for his first run'
The Colin Tizzard camp are to take the same route that galvanised Lostintranslation's chasing career with leading young prospect Fiddlerontheroof, starting with this Grade 2 at Newbury.
That journey Lostintranslation took to the top involved running here before going to the Marsh at the festival, when second, and then being successfully upped to 3m1f at Aintree.
And Friday's runner Fiddlerontheroof is expected to go on that same path to the top grade, although he already has a head-start having captured the Grade 1 Tolworth at Sandown last season. The six-year-old is also boosted by a brave first chasing win at Exeter.
While Lostintranslation could only finish third here in 2018 – the same position as stable legend Cue Card in 2011 – expectations are much higher here with Fiddlerontheroof rated 8lb higher on official ratings than his two opponents.
Joe Tizzard, assistant and son to trainer Colin, said: "He's come on a bundle for his first run at Ffos Las and I thought the win at Exeter would've done him the world of good. This is a good Grade 2 and a lovely opportunity for him.
"I think two and a half miles is the right trip for now but he's certainly a horse that'll end up getting further, but when that'll be I'm not too sure. It might be that we go over two and a half at Cheltenham and then step him up at Aintree. I think for now this trip is spot on."
He added: "We held him in high regard last season and he's a Grade 1-winning novice hurdler. He was bought to be a good horse and he's been progressive throughout his career, especially over fences. Where he'll end up is a job to know."
Getaway Trump comes here off the back off a never-say-die effort to topple odds-on favourite Happygolucky in a good race at Fakenham and the conditions are likely to suit the Paul Nicholls representative.
Nicholls said: "He did it well last time. A small field and two and a half miles on a flat track will suits him and we thought it was worth taking our chance. It's a tough race but he's capable of running tidy in these sort of races."
The Nicky Henderson-trained Caribean Boy makes his first start since winning at Haydock at February and is looking to snatch this prize before his novice status ends on Monday.
"It's a good little race," said the champion trainer. "He's only a novice chaser until Monday, but we thought this was a good place for him to start his season. We were really happy with his win the last day at Haydock and hopefully he can run a nice race."