Wednesday 13 December 2017

Celebrate New Year's Night in some style

Trainer Paul Nicholls pictured with Saphir Du Rheu and Zarkandar at Manor Farm Stables yesterday
Trainer Paul Nicholls pictured with Saphir Du Rheu and Zarkandar at Manor Farm Stables yesterday

NEW YEAR'S NIGHT hit the bar at Wolverhampton a couple of weeks ago but can make amends in the Download The Coral App Handicap back at Dunstall Park.

The four-year-old is bred to be a champion as a son of Raven's Pass out of a Classic winner in Nightime but he has not quite lived up to his breeding, winning just once in six low-key starts to date.

He banked a maiden success over an extended mile at this track last December after a run of fair efforts at Kempton, clearly enjoying the Tapeta surface as he triumphed by eight lengths.

The margin of victory was certainly impressive but his initial mark of 80 proved beyond him at Kempton next time when he could finish only seventh but he shaped a lot better back at this track recently.

Dropped 2lb by the handicapper, he was beaten just a length after being found wanting in a tight finish but he still ran well enough.

A slight jump back up the weights is not ideal but he is worth another try as he steps up in trip.

Jody Sole and Paul Nicholls were on the mark with Cowards Close in last month's Royal Artillery Gold Cup and the duo should again play a leading role with HOWLONGISAFOOT in the Grand Military Gold Cup back at Sandown.

The pair teamed up to good effect with Merrion Square in this race back in 2013 while Nicholls also counts a further three wins in the last 10 years of the contest which showcases the riding skills of some of the Armed Forces.

They have an unexposed type with which to go to war this time as Howlongisafoot will be having just his third chase start here, winning one of his two outings to date.

Also a winner in bumper and hurdles company, the six-year-old found only the Cheltenham Festival-bound Generous Ransom too good on his fencing debut, going down by just over a length when conceding 2lb to the winner.

One slight jumping error was in evidence that day but he had clearly brushed up on his jumping skills as made no such mistake next time out at Taunton.

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