Racing Post Arkle Trial
|(Registered As The November Novices' Chase)
Grade 2, Cheltenham 13:50
£35,000 added, 4yo plus,
2m 35yds, Class 1
|Sunday 19th November 2017
1 North Hill Harvey 6/4
River Wylde EvsF
3 Ossie The Oscar 5/1
3 ran NR: Capitaine Distances: 18l, 1¼l
Time: 4m 6.50s (slow by 14.50s)
North Hill Harvey scoots clear to win the for Dan Skelton
North Hill Harvey
The six-year-old British-bred son of Kayf Tara is trained by Dan Skelton and ridden by Harry Skelton. He was sent off at odds of 6/4.
Skelton said: "He was great here at the track in October [he won a novices' chase at The Showcase Meeting last month] and I did think, jumping the last that day, that Sceau Royal
had us beaten. He showed a great attitude up the hill to win that fight. He's jumped great today and Harry's given him a lovely ride - very sensible - and I think it helped us having Ozzie The Oscar [eventual third] there.
"Obviously all roads will lead to the Arkle. I don't quite know what route to take; he looked a fresh horse jumping the last, but it was a long way up that hill. I won't be rushing back and running him in two weeks. I'll work backwards from the Arkle."
When it was pointed out that last year North Hill Harvey went straight from the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle to the Randox Health County Hurdle
at The Festival, Skelton replied: "Big mistake - we won't be doing that again. He loves to run - he grows a hand and has an opinion at the racecourse. At home, he's a team member, he does his graft, goes back in, eats his food, he's never a complainer in that respect, but at the same time he would never stand out.
"I remember ringing Richard [Kelvin-Hughes, part-owner] when we first got him after winning and English point-to-point, and saying that that might be where his future lies. He did nothing, and it wasn't until I jumped him that first year that I thought, 'Oh, hang on'. He's got better and better through his hurdling career, now chasing - he's just got stronger and better. I hope he's a contender come March.
"I just want to see how he comes out of this. I've got the owners' other horse, Born Survivor, who might be a contender for the Henry VIII Novices' Chase [at Sandown in December] and it might be that we have to prioritise one or the other on that day, but afterwards we will give him some runs. He thrives on it. I'd love it to rain heavily on the Sunday and Monday before The Festival!"
Jockey Nico De Boinville felt the even money favourite River Wylde didn't handle the rain-soften ground after the six-year-old was beaten by 18 lengths into second.
The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding was never really travelling for his jockey during the race and looked like he was going to be tailed off before staying on again up the Cheltenham hill to collar third-placed Ozzie the Oscar for second place.
"That was a hard race," said the jockey.
"He didn't really handle the ground at all. We've just picked up the pieces of the battle ahead of us and that was that.
"We were beaten by a good horse though."
Ozzie The Oscar (5/1) had tried to make every post a winning one under jockey Richard Johnson but the six-year-old tired badly on the run-in, eventually being beaten a length-and-a-quarter by River Wylde.
"He's run well," said Johnson.
"The winner is a good horse - we've no excuses."
Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase
(registered As The November Novices' Chase)
£35,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 35yds, Class 1
Going: Soft (Heavy in places)
||North Hill Harvey 6/4
||River Wylde (IRE) Evsf
||Nico de Boinville
|N J Henderson
||Ozzie The Oscar (IRE) 5/1
|P J Hobbs
|P F Nicholls