MALCOLM Jefferson has confirmed the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster as the intended next port of call for his Rowland Meyrick hero Cape Tribulation.
Last season’s Pertemps Final winner bagged his biggest prize yet over fences with an impressive display in one of the feature events of Wetherby’s season on Boxing Day, beating Mr Moonshine by 11 lengths.
The handicapper has had his say since, raising the nine-year-old nine pounds to a mark of 151, but Jefferson could not be happier with his gelding’s well being.
“He’s in great order and I’ve just made an entry for him in the Sky Bet Chase (January 26) this morning,” said the Malton trainer.
“That is the next plan with him, all going well, so we’ll see how we get on there. He seems in great nick at the moment, so fingers crossed.”
Haydock’s StanJames.com Champion Hurdle Trial on Saturday week remains the most likely seasonal starting point for Peddlers Cross, stablemate to Overturn, who reappears at Doncaster today.
After a disappointing end to his novice campaign over fences, connections stated their intentions to switch the 2011 Champion Hurdle runner-up back to the smaller obstacles this term.
Having been slow to come to hand, the eight-year-old missed the first part of the new season and then an intended run at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day was scuppered by the weather.
Trainer Donald McCain remains keen to find out whether his charge will stay three miles to open the door for a potential tilt at the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, but he is set to start over just two miles due to a lack of suitable opportunities.
“We are looking at Haydock for him. There are really not many places we can go with him,” said McCain.
The Haydock meeting also sees Bold Sir Brian in the mix for the Peter Marsh Chase won by Jefferson’s According To Pete 12 months ago.
Trained by Lucinda Russell, the seven-year-old has won five of his eight starts over fences, including a very impressive win last time out at Sandown.
Russell has given him an entry in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and will hold talks with his owners about an entry in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival.
The Argento Chase at Cheltenham on Trials Day was a possible option, but Russell has now nominated the Haydock event won in the past by the likes of Little Owl, Bregawn, Jodami and Our Vic.
One horse missing the Gold Cup, however, is Cue Card who will line up in either the Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Ryanair Chase at the Festival.
The seven-year-old was a hugely impressive winner of the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter in early November, but three miles in testing conditions proved beyond him as he finished a tired fifth in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Trainer Colin Tizzard said: “He came out of the King George fine, he looks really well and is back in fast work now.
“Obviously he made a mistake at the first, which didn’t help, and maybe if he had had a clear round he might have lasted until the second last. I’m not saying we wouldn’t try three miles again sometime, but on that particular day it found him out.”