Improving Killyglen looking to make mark at Doncaster

Killyglen will return to Britain to contest the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on Saturday.

The nine-year-old was not far off the top level as a novice chaser for Howard Johnson a couple of seasons back, looking destined for the top when running away with a Grade Two at Aintree in April 2009.

However, he has since failed to find the winner's enclosure and moved to County Antrim trainer Stuart Crawford at the start of the current campaign.

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The Presenting gelding finished behind Kauto Star at Down Royal, as well as twice shaping with promise over hurdles.

"Hopefully, the track will suit him well as he's gone well there before when second in the Grimthorpe Chase and the decent ground he should get will suit him well," said Crawford.

"He's had a few decent runs for us and he could possibly be a horse for one of the Nationals in the spring, but I would say it all depends on how he goes this weekend."

Pepe Simo is also likely to run at Doncaster but it has still to be decided in which race he will line up.

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Paul Nicholls's seven-year-old holds entries in the Grade Two Lightning Novices' Chase and the Handicap Chase, and was last seen chasing home Nadiya De La Vega at Kempton.

"He's in great form, he's come out of Kempton very well and it's really a question of which race he runs in," said Harry Herbert, racing manager to the owners, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.

"He's being aimed at the Grand Annual so it would be a long time without a run if he went straight there. We don't want to be too clever and wait too long. He's very exuberant in his jumping and the more experience we can get into him in his novice year the better.

"We were very excited with his last run, he would perhaps have finished even closer but for his mistake at the last. He's a very exciting horse and is giving his owners lots of fun."

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Also on Saturday, Local Hero is set to put his unbeaten record over obstacles on the line in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham.

The four-year-old has barely come off the bridle in his two starts at Wetherby and Doncaster, but his trainer Steve Gollings admits he faces a much stiffer task in this weekend's Grade Two heat.

"He'll run, all going well, and it looks like AP (McCoy) is going to ride him again, which is great news," said the handler.

"We've always thought this was a very nice horse. Even when he won his maiden on the Flat at Catterick, there were about six big Newmarket trainers with runners and apparently it didn't ride like a bad race.

"We ran him at Wetherby and he was really good.

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"On the face of it he didn't beat very much, but he did it all very easily.

"It was the same thing at Doncaster and we have to ask, what did we beat?

"But AP thinks he's got a serious engine and we also think he has, although he's still got a lot to learn.

"We've got to find out what we've got and Saturday is an acid test. It will tell us once and for all where we're going with him."