Fantastic 56 for Jewson Novices’ Chase
Following a superb inaugural running in 2011, this year’s Grade Two Jewson Novices’ Chase has attracted a fantastic 56-strong entry. The contest, run over two and a half miles, is one of the highlights of St Patrick’s Thursday at The Festival on March 15.
Peddlers Cross boasts superb form at Cheltenham, having won the Grade One Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival in 2010 and filled the runner-up spot behind Hurricane Fly in the Grade One Stan James Champion Hurdle 12 months later.
Donald McCain’s charge made an impressive start to his chasing career, winning twice at Bangor, before coming home second behind the current ante-post favourite for the Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase, Sprinter Sacre, in the Grade Two Williamhill.com Novices’ Chase at Kempton on December 27. A trio of entries from McCain also includes recent Musselburgh winner Charminster and Our Mick, successful in a Haydock Grade Two novices’ chase on January 21.
Cristal Bonus made an exciting debut over fences when taking a Chepstow beginners’ chase by 25 lengths on January 20 and the six-year-old, a Grade One runner- up over hurdles in France, features among a quintet of entries from Paul Nicholls.
The champion trainer is also responsible for Al Ferof, who landed the Grade One Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown in December and the posted highest-rated performance of the season to date by a novice chaser when third in the Grade One Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot on January 21.
Silviniaco Conti, runner-up to Grands Crus in the Grade One Williamhill.com Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton on December 26, Pacha Du Polder and Cedre Bleu complete Nicholls’ formidable entry.
The Nicky Henderson-trained Solix posted an easy victory in the Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices’ Chase at The Open in November prior to taking second behind Champion Court, from the stable of Martin Keighley, in the Grade Two Cheltenham Pony Club Raceday Novices’ Chase on New Year’s Day.
Henderson could also be represented by State Benefit, runner-up to Our Mick at Haydock, last season’s Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle second Mossley and Minella Class, a Grade One winner over hurdles last term.
Ireland took the first Jewson Novices’ Chase with the Paul Nolan-trained Noble Prince and a particularly strong Irish entry of 23 in this year’s contest includes the Willie Mullins-trained Blackstairmountain. A total of seven entries from Mullins also features last season’s Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle winner Sir Des Champs, who is unbeaten in two starts over fences, and impressive Gowran Park beginners’ chase scorer Call The Police.
Last Instalment also boasts a 100 per cent record over fences for Philip Fenton with three wins from as many starts, including a comprehensive six-length success over the Mouse Morris-trained First Lieutenant on his most recent outing in the Grade One Fort Leney Novice Chase at Leopardstown on December 28.
Tony Martin saddled Bog Warrior to victory in the Grade One Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in December, while other notable Irish entries include the Dermot Weld-trained Daffern Seal and the Edward O’Grady-trained Shot From The Hip, who posted a half-length success over the 2009 Coral Cup victor Ninetieth Minute, representing Tom Taaffe, in a Fairyhouse beginners’ chase on January 22.
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