GLENQUEST, agonisingly beaten in the Welsh Grand National over Christmas, is among 45 entries for the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on January 24.
Having jumped the last looking the likely winner at Chepstow, Stuart Crawford’s 12-year-old was caught in the final strides and had to settle for third.
“We don’t have any firm plans for Glenquest. We will probably look at one of the better staying chasers in the spring and that could be something like a Scottish or Irish National. He probably won’t be rated high enough to get in at Aintree,” said Crawford.
“We will definitely take a look at the Sky Bet Chase on the way because that is a really good prize in its own right and that is why we have put him in there.
“Glenquest has come out of Chepstow very well. He deserves a big one as he has been second in a Troytown, fourth in a Paddy Power at Leopardstown and obviously the good run in the Welsh National.
“He has been knocking on the door and, although he is getting on, with a bit of luck we would be hopeful that he could pick up a nice one this season.”
Crawford has also entered Yes Tom, who ran a bold race in the Scottish National in the spring.
“We will also look at the Sky Bet with Yes Tom but whereas Glenquest will cope with most ground, he wants nice ground,” said Crawford.
“The ground was quite tacky when Yes Tom ran in the Scottish National and I would say it was that rather than the trip that did not suit him.”
The sponsors have installed Paul Nicholls’s Easter Day and the Philip Hobbs-trained If In Doubt as 12-1 joint-favourites.
Present View, owned by Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick, is another intriguing entry – Jamie Snowden’s stable star was last seen out when beaten by two lengths into third by Caid Du Berlais in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 15. The seven-year-old provided Lambourn-based Snowden with his first Cheltenham Festival triumph when denying Malcolm Jefferson’s Attaglance by half a length in the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Present View could renew his rivalry with Attaglance, who heads the four Yorkshire-trained entries – the other potential runners are Keith Reveley’s course specialist Night In Milan and the Sue Smith pair of Mr Moonshine and No Planning.
However, there are no Yorkshire horses among the 35 horses for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, jump racing’s season-defining race.
The possible runners include the first five from last year’s contest that was won so memorably by Lord Windermere in a dramatic finish of fluctuating fortunes. The favourite is Silviniaco Conti following his wins in the Betfred Chase and King George VI Chase.
Kings Palace is a fascinating entry from the novice ranks and is quoted at 20-1 by the sponsors to emulate Captain Christy, who was the last rookie to win the race in 1974.
Betfred spokesman Andrew Griffiths said: “The Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup is the pinnacle of the National Hunt season and we’re thrilled with the quality of this year’s entry.
“Silviniaco Conti has been firing on all cylinders this season and he justifiably sets the pace in the betting.”
Twelve runners are due to go to post for today’s £20,000 North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick.
Local hopes rest with the Brian Ellison-trained Herdsman, Sue Smith’s Pinerolo and Everaard who will be looking to continue the fine recent run of Middleham trainer Micky Hammond and jockey Henry Brooke.
The one jockey without a ride in the race is 19-times champion jockey AP McCoy who is due to line up in three contests.