Diamond looks suited to Cheltenham, says Reveley

JAMES Reveley hopes racing favourite Diamond Harry will sparkle in today’s Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham.

A top-class chaser who won the 2010 Hennessy, the 10-year-old appears to be rejuvenated since trainer Nick Williams switched Diamond Harry to the more unorthodox jump races.

Fourth at Compiegne in May and then third at Lyon in June, Saltburn-based Reveley believes that the horse will be well-suited by today’s test over nearly four miles.

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The jockey speaks with the confidence of a tremendous victory last Saturday on Diamond Harry’s stablemate, Maljimar, in the Grand Steeple Chase-Cross-Country De Compiegne over a range of obstacles that included drop banks and which nearly saw Reveley’s mount taken out by the leader.

It was just the latest in a number of high-profile successes that Reveley has enjoyed in France in recent weeks as he continues to ply his trade on both sides of the Channel.

Today’s line-up includes course specialist Balthazar King, but Diamond Harry is the class horse – he and Reveley were good enough to be fourth to the legendary Kauto Star in the 2011 Betfair Chase.

“If he hadn’t tried to beat Kauto Star down the back straight, he would have been third in a Group One, and that would have been good form,” said the North Yorkshire jockey, who recently teamed up with agent Bruce Jeffrey.

“He’s hard to keep right and hard to train, but Nick says he is in as good a form as ever.

“The pace of these races is slower; it gives them the chance of a breather and you are not flat out all the time.

“The Lyon track was a bit sharp. He’s an out-and-out stayer so nearly four miles around Cheltenham on a more galloping track should suit him.

“I’ve ridden the course a few times on Maljimar, but he didn’t have enough to get up the hill. Hopefully, Diamond Harry will.”

Nicky Henderson’s top-class hurdler Oscar Whisky makes his novice chase debut today at Cheltenham against Jonjo O’Neill’s Taquin Du Seuil, the mount of AP McCoy.

The Steel Plate And Sections Novices’ Chase usually unearths future stars and has been previously won by Dynaste, Imperial Commander and Denman.

Taquin Du Seuil made a winning chase debut at Ffos Las, but O’Neill conceded: “This is a very different task for him.”

n David Pipe’s Dynaste swerves tomorrow’s Paddy Power Gold Cup in favour of Haydock’s Betfair Chase.

Ballynagour, the mount of Tom Scudamore, represents the stable, with a field of 20 headed by Finians Rainbow.

In Dynaste’s absence, O’Neill’s Johns Spirit heads the market while Attaglance – a 2012 Cheltenham winner for Malton’s Malcolm Jefferson – will be ridden by Brian Hughes.