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Sunday 17 December 2017

Forpady set for a Chase

Tom Cooper is considering his options after Forpadydeplasterer finished second in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

The Melling Chase over two and a half miles at Aintree on April 9 and the two-mile Kerrygold Champion Chase at Punchestown on April 20 are possible races for the eight-year-old.

"He's come out of the race super and he's been out in the paddock," said the Tralee trainer.

"I'd have to be very happy after the preparation he had. It was stop-go situation so I'd had have to be pleased.

"He was just beaten by a faster horse on the day. He'll run again this season without a doubt. We might have a look at Aintree and Punchestown.

"We'll just see over the next week to 10 days about Aintree, but there's no decision made yet."

Kauto Star has been scratched from the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on April 24. Paul Nicholls stated on Sunday the four-times King George VI Chase winner was unlikely to run again this season.

Also scratched from the Sandown contest are New Alco, disappointing in the William Hill Trophy at Cheltenham after a long absence, and Iris De Balme, who was pulled up in the Midlands Grand National on Saturday.

The same two horses have also been taken out of the Grand National.

George Charlton is hoping Knockara Beau can develop into a live contender for the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup following his creditable effort in the RSA Chase.

The seven-year-old has been a model of consistency and showed he was near the top in the novice ranks when finishing fourth to Weapon's Amnesty at the Festival on Wednesday.

Charlton has not ruled out running his stable star again this term but the Northumberland trainer is already looking forward to next season.

"He's come out of the race very well, no problems at all," said Charlton.

"He wasn't beaten that far for second. He's back in one piece and who knows what the future holds.

"I'm just looking forward to next season with him. We'll pick a few good races out for him. If everything continues the way it is we should get fairly near the top with him.

"The Gold Cup one day, that's the dream. I don't believe in getting them too fat in the field. He'll have a bit of a break and a change of routine. We'll play it by ear and see how he's getting on and start again with a good campaign."

Barizan could go to Aintree or Punchestown next month following his valiant effort in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The Evan Williams-trained gelding failed by only a length and a quarter to make all the running when caught by Soldatino on Friday.

Now Williams will consider the Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle at the Grand National meeting and the Ballymore Champion 4-Y-O Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.

"It's a lonely old spot second place after he'd run a race like that, but he went down in flames and covered himself in glory," said the Llancarfan handler.

"I'll definitely keep an eye on Aintree and Punchestown. He will have entries in both and will run if the weather is right -- and if we're happy with him.

"He would have appreciated quicker ground and if that last flight of hurdles had been in the position it normally is, that would have helped as well.

"But at the end of the day, we got beaten by a very nice horse and we pulled clear of a very good horse (Alaivan) in third. I've no complaints."

Punjabi will bid to rebuild his slightly tarnished reputation in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.

Nicky Henderson's seven-year-old went into Cheltenham as the defending champion hurdler and hopes were high he could retain his crown after a confidence-boosting win at Kempton three weeks previously. But he dropped away tamely in the final half mile to finish ninth of the 12 runners. Having won at Punchestown in 2007 and 2008 -- he was also beaten a short head in this race last year -- Punjabi may be sent over fences if he disappoints again.

Carlito Brigante will have another chance to prove his worth in the Ballymore Champion 4-Y-O Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival. Gordon Elliott's juvenile finished fourth behind Soldatino in the Triumph Hurdle when sent off the 7/2 favourite.

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