IT is a measure of Doncaster’s prestige that two Cheltenham Festival winners have been declared for today’s pre-Christmas meeting, though the trainers of both Attaglance and Divers have concerns about the likely heavy ground.
First up in the Healthwatch Novices’ Chase is Malcolm Jefferson’s Attaglance, who won the Martin Pipe conditional jockeys’ race at this year’s NH Festival. “If it comes up too soft, he won’t run,” said the trainer.
“Like all novice chasers, they need a bit of practice. It was too heavy at Carlisle. He shouldn’t have run. He would probably have been okay at the last Doncaster meeting, but we didn’t run – the ground wasn’t as bad as feared.”
Bingley trainer Sue Smith’s Cloudy Too is the one to beat – he will thrive on the ground – while the Nicky Henderson-trained Molotof and Paul Nicholls novice Rocky Creek merit respect.
Seventy minutes later, Ferdy Murphy’s Divers – a 2011 Festival winner – is due to go to post in the competitive nine-runner handicap chase over two miles and three furlongs.
The West Witton trainer says Divers has more chance of showing his potential on Town Moor, despite the testing going, than at Cheltenham, where he also held an entry.
James Reveley takes the ride after being left covered in mud following his fourth-place finish on Maljimar in yesterday’s gruelling Cross Country race at the Cotswolds track which was won by Outlaw Pete.