Betway Handicap Chase (Grade 3) | 3m | 5yo+ | ITV4/RTV
Paul Nicholls, who last landed this prestigious prize with Rocky Creek in 2015, is four-handed as he bids to continue his excellent run of form.
The market – plus the fact he will be partnered by stable jockey Harry Cobden – suggests Adrien Du Pont, who finished third 12 months ago, is the Ditcheat number one. However, Black Corton and Sametegal will also have their supporters, and it would not be the biggest surprise if Romain De Senam delivered a big performance, too, as he builds up to the Randox Health Grand National.
What they say
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Black Corton, Romain De Senam, Adrien Du Pont and Sametegal
Black Corton loves to be fresh and to go right-handed. He's off a high mark, but I think he'll run well. He's got a definite shout. Romain De Senam has not run for a long time. It’s part of his preparation for Aintree, and he’ll improve for the run. Aintree is the number-one target. Adrien Du Pont finished third in this race last year. He didn't have it run to suit that day, and needs luck in running. If he gets it he has a very good chance. Sametegal ran very well at Kempton over Christmas. We're taking 5lb off with Bryan Carver's claim, and he's a lively outsider.
Alan King, trainer of Talkischeap and Azzerti
Talkischeap never travelled on the testing ground at Sandown last time, but he has since been hobdayed. We know he has the quality and we all enjoyed a great day when he won the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April. He is a good ground horse and we accept that the ground won't be ideal, but he needs a run to blow away the cobwebs and the clock is ticking away. He's run well at Kempton before, so fingers crossed he'll return with a decent run. Azzerti produced a below-par performance at Doncaster last time, and nothing came to light afterwards. We know he's better than that.
Colin Tizzard, trainer of Mister Malarky
I hope he'll appreciate the better ground at Kempton. He got stuck in the mud at Ascot last time.
Chris Gordon, trainer of Highway One O One
He was a bit disappointing last time and never got into a rhythm. He didn't produce the best of scopes afterwards, but is a healthy and happy horse again. He's what I'd call a better-ground winter horse. I'm looking forward to running him.
Henry Daly, trainer of Whatmore
We hope we have a bit more luck in running than at Warwick last time. That was his first time over three miles and he got the trip. A mark of 138 is fair. He ran to that sort of level as a novice. I'm very hopeful.
Harry Fry, trainer of Just A Sting
He won well in a close finish over the course and distance at Christmas and we've had this race in mind ever since. The more it dries out the better. He has a nice low weight.
Richard Newland, trainer of Dashing Perk
He's going up in trip which should hopefully suit. He's a bit out of the handicap and it's obviously a tough race, but he's earned his chance to have a go.