KEITH Reveley believes he has nothing to lose when he saddles Brave Spartacus in tomorrow’s Grade Two Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase at Aintree.
The nine-year-old led from start to finish under the trainer’s son James to win the valuable Summer Plate at Market Rasen.
However, Brave Spartacus will require a career best performance against horses of the calibre of defending champion Wishfull Thinking, Rajdhani Express, Johns Spirit, Splash of Ginge and Duke of Navan in this mouth-watering two and a half mile test.
“It’s a hard race and a much more competitive renewal this year,” the Saltburn trainer told The Yorkshire Post.
“However the horse has done nothing wrong – he won the Summer Plate in grand style – and James had nothing to ride in France.
“We are hopeful rather than confident.
“You’ve got to jump well and get the breathers in. Jumping will be key, but he is a good jumper and, off a light weight, you never know.”
Brave Spartacus is owned by Richard Collins whose colours were carried with distinction by Doncaster course specialist Night In Milan in the Crabbies Grand National before the horse’s stamina ran out.
Night In Milan is due to make his seasonal reappearance over hurdles at Sedgefield next Thursday, but Reveley does not believe a return to Aintree for the four mile-plus marathon will be on the agenda.
“He didn’t get the trip full stop so I wouldn’t be keen to go back,” said Reveley. “We will go hurdling for now and look at the veterans’ chases the other side of Christmas. They have put a lot of money on, but we will also look at races like the Grimthorpe at Doncaster which he has won before.”
As for Reveley junior, the jockey recently recorded his 500th career victory – he brought up the landmark in France where he plies his trade in the summer and where he has won one million euros for his connections this year, including the French Champion Hurdle earlier in the year on the David Pipe-trained Un Temps Pour Tout.
Meanwhile, Martin Keighley is looking forward to seeing a rejuvenated Champion Court return to Cheltenham for today’s Winner.co.uk Trophy.
The 10-year-old, the mount of Malton-born Andrew Tinkler, has won twice over fences and once over hurdles at Prestbury Park and has run with some credit at each of the last five Festivals.
He endured a lengthy spell in the doldrums until snapping a two-year losing streak at Kempton in May and has not looked back, completing a hat-trick with subsequent triumphs at Worcester and Uttoxeter.
He must concede weight to each of his 11 rivals, but the Yorkshire-born trainer is anticipating a bold show.
Keighley said: “I’ve been delighted to see him come back to form. We thought about waiting for the Charlie Hall at Wetherby next weekend, but that’s looking like a red-hot race this year.”
Marco Botti is optimistic that Dhahmaan can have a major say in the Scott Dobson Memorial Doncaster Stakes at Doncaster today.
After winning his first two starts, the son of Kodiac saw his unbeaten record ended earlier this month when finding only subsequent Group Two winner Donjuan Triumphant too good in the Rockingham Stakes at York on his first start since June.
The Newmarket handler said: “Dhahmaan is a nice horse. He didn’t lose anything in defeat last time out.
“The trip is fine for him as he has plenty of speed.
“If all goes well on Saturday, he could be a nice sprinter for next year.”
Don’t miss Sports Monday for our exclusive sporting bygones interview with Graham Bradley 30 years after Wayward Lad won Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase.