DAVID Pipe believes Broadway Buffalo can overcome a lengthy absence and win the Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase for a second time at Haydock today.
The nine-year-old lifted this prize in 2014, but has been sidelined since finishing second in the Grand National Trial on this course in February 2016.
Pipe reports Tom Scudamore’s mount to be ready for a return to action.
“Obviously he’s got some very good form, but he’s been off for a long time,” said the trainer.
“He’s done plenty of work and he’ll have his conditions. He loves the track and he’s got some good form round there.
“He seems to be showing the same enthusiasm at home. Hopefully he will do so on the track.”
He added: “It’s been frustrating with him. His legs wouldn’t be the best in the world, but touch wood he’s in good form and hopefully will run well.”
Victory would provide some compensation for Pipe who has endured a tragic month after losing Starchitect a week ago.
Paul and Clare Rooney’s beloved chaser had Cheltenham’s feature race at his mercy before breaking a leg on the approach to the second last fenc.
A win would also put the aforementioned Scudamore in good heart before Thistlecrack attempts to make a successful defence of Kempton’s King George Chase on Boxing Day – the 2016 hero, just back from a long lay-off, is well-supported according to the bookmakers.
Meanwhile, Court Artist bids to provide Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins with his first ever winner at Haydock when she lines up in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
The six-year-old daughter of Court Cave carries the colours of the Blue Blood Racing Club, a syndicate made up entirely of members of the An Garda Siochana – Ireland’s National Police Service.
The winner of a Kilbeggan bumper during the summer, Court Artist disappointed on her hurdling debut at Down Royal in September, but has since bounced back with successive victories at Ballinrobe and Wexford and steps up to Listed class on Merseyside this weekend.
James Fenton, racing manager for the owners, said: “It’s our first runner as a club in the UK and Haydock have been very accommodating. We’ve 15 lads going over and it’s very exciting.”