ROCKY’S Treasure must give weight to his six rivals as he seeks to give trainer Kim Bailey a third success in the Grimthorpe Chase, the feature race on Doncaster’s season-ending National Hunt meeting.
The eight-year-old has had a good novice campaign – his four wins from six starts included a 17-length win in a course record time at Doncaster last time – before a below-par run in Warwick.
Refreshed by a break, favourable good ground has persuaded Bailey to line up in this three-and-a-quarter-mile test that the trainer has previously won with The Last Samuri in 2016 – a subsequent Grand National second – and Shraden Leader back in 1994.
“He’s had a very good season. He’s not the world’s biggest horse carrying top-weight, but he’s got every chance,” said Bailey, who believes Rocky’s Treasure could be a National contender next season. “The trip will be fine.”
Rocky’s Treasure, who runs in the colours of John Perriss, will be ridden by David Bass, who partnered The Last Samuri to Grimthorpe success.
Nicky Richards is expecting both Looking Well and Chidswell to put up good shows, especially as both won their latest starts, while Yorkshire hopes rest with Brian Boranha from the Malton yard of Peter Niven.
Though well beaten in the Sky Bet Chase on his first run for three months, Niven said: “I hope he runs better than he did last time, but he seems fine.”
Lucinda Russell will assess the ground before deciding if 2017 Grand National hero One For Arthur lines up in today’s Premier Chase at Kelso.
The horse has unseated his rider twice since returning from over a year and a half off the track, but connections are hopeful he will bounce back if given the green light to run this weekend.
Russell said: “There is some rain forecast, so we’ll probably take him down there, see what the ground is like and make a decision.”
Should One For Arthur not take up his entry he looks set to head straight back to Aintree for another tilt at National glory.
Another horse with Grand National aspirations is the Stuart Coltherd-trained Captain Redbeard with son Sam – attached to Sue and Harvey Smith’s Bingley yard – in the saddle.
He unseated his rider at the seventh fence in the world’s most famous steeplechase last April, but Coltherd is keen to head back to Merseyside next month if he makes the cut.
The 10-year-old was last seen inflicting a shock defeat on Brian Ellison’s Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Definitly Red over this course and distance last month.
Coltherd senior said: “It’s all systems go. There’s no guarantee he’ll get in the National and he’s fit and well and ready to run, so we might as well let him take his chance.”
Getaway Trump is the star attraction in the Edinburgh Gin Premier Kelso Novices’ Hurdle at Kelso.
Following successive wins at Plumpton and Exeter, the Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old found only Nicky Henderson’s Champ too strong when stepped up to Grade One level for Newbury’s Challow Novices’ Hurdle in December.
On the strength of that form he was well-fancied for the re-arranged Betfair Hurdle at Ascot last month and ran with credit to finish fourth behind Al Dancer.
Getaway Trump, the mount of in-form Harry Cobden, appears to have a little less on his plate in this Grade Two contest and connections believe he should prove hard to beat.
Nicholls’s assistant Harry Derham said: “This race is worth £50,000 and it is hard to ignore that.”
Getaway Trump is entered in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, the Coral Cup and the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but is more likely to head straight to Aintree’s Grand National meeting.