SUE Smith believes she has nothing to lose by running Cloudy Too in tomorrow’s rearranged Totepool Premier Chase in which Grand National hero Many Clouds will look to complete his preparations for his Aintree defence.
Smith’s staying steeplechaser, a brilliant runaway winner of Haydock’s prestigious Peter Marsh Chase in January, was not amongst the original entries for last Saturday’s race which was abandoned when the Scottish track was hit by a deluge.
However, the High Eldwick trainer, whose tally of prize money for the 2015-16 season passed £500,000 earlier this week, took advantage of the opportunity to make a supplementary entry when it became clear that the meeting was being rearranged.
“I had to have a go with something, with Cloudy Too the obvious one,” Smith told The Yorkshire Post.
“It’s nice to support them as they do a good job at Kelso. The money is good, they try hard and keep the ground in good nick. Their hospitality is very good.
“Old Cloudy has run up there a couple of times and I haven’t got a lot of options for him. We’ll give it a shot.
“When Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase and West Yorkshire Hurdle had just a few runners, there was talk about the need to support races.
“Not everyone has a horse that can take on the likes of Many Clouds. When they do, I just hope the handicapper looks after them a little bit.”
Smith also said that Wakanda, winner of three high-profile races this season, is likely to head to Aintree on Crabbies Grand National day for the three-mile handicap chase.
Hot favourite Thistlecrack and last year’s winner Cole Harden are among 18 horses still in contention for the Ryanair World Hurdle on Thursday following the six-day entry stage.
The Colin Tizzard-trained Thistlecrack has carried all before him in the staying hurdle division this season, landing the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and the Long Walk at Ascot before romping home in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January under Tom Scudamore.
Cole Harden, a past winner of Wetherby’s West Yorkshire Hurdle, was beaten by Thistlecrack at Newbury and finished well-held in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, but connections are adamant he will put up a staunch defence of his crown if the ground dries out prior to next Thursday.
Affaire D’Honneur is one of a number of horses aiming to secure a last-minute place at the Cheltenham Festival in the Close Brothers Imperial Cup at Sandown.
The ante-post favourite brings strong form to the table, having finished fourth in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury after being momentarily left at the start, and trainer Harry Whittington is hoping he can get back on the winning trail and earn a weight penalty that would enable Gavin Sheehan’s mount to quality for next Friday’s County Hurdle.
Whittington also saddles Wetherby winner Woolstone One in the Bumper.