Intisaab in condition to shine at Newcastle

David O'Meara is looking forward to dropping Intisaab down to five furlongs for the first time in the Betway Conditions Stakes at Newcastle today.

Winners: Yanworth and Barry Geraghty lead Sizing Tennessee and Bryan Cooper over the last fence before going on to win The BetBright Dipper Novices' Steeple Chase Race at Cheltenham.

The Elnadim gelding has run 37 times, all between six furlongs and a mile, but Upper Helmsley trainer O’Meara feels he has enough speed to be effective at the minimum trip so he is heading for this All-Weather Championships Fast-Track Qualifier.

He showed he was in good form when winning a six-furlong conditions race at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day.

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“I wasn’t sure whether to go for this race over five furlongs or a six-furlong one,” said O’Meara.

“Tuesday’s race has higher prize money of £30,000 and I have always thought I would like to try Intisaab at five furlongs.

“There is nothing to lose and it could suit him as he is a strong traveller in the mid-part of his races.

“Intisaab won the conditions race at Wolverhampton and we will continue to pick away at similar nice races.”

Intisaab faces six rivals, including Blue De Vega, who has also yet to run over five furlongs. It will be his second start since leaving Michael O’Callaghan’s stable in Ireland for Robert Cowell in Newmarket.

Tony Coyle’s Caspian Prince is burdened with a 7lb penalty for beating Marsha in the Group Two Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh in July.

Others in the mix are Paul Midgley’s Final Venture, Roger Varian’s Atletico, David Simcock’s Doctor Sardonicus and Gracious John from the David Evans stable.

Doncaster is set to be the next port of call for Bigmartre as he seeks a hat-trick over fences.

Harry Whittington’s promising young chaser has won both his races over the bigger obstacles to date at Ludlow and Newbury.

The form of the latter race was given a lift when runner-up Cyrname took the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton over Christmas.

“He is as fresh as paint. The Wayward Lad was a good form boost with Cyrname winning it. I had a few text messages saying ‘why didn’t you run in it’ but he needs six weeks between his runs to be at his best,” said Whittington.

“He will go to Doncaster at the end of January, for either the Lightning or the 0-150 two-mile handicap chase on the same day. We will stick him in that handicap as he is such a good jumper for a novice that I am not afraid to take on the seasoned professionals and he is battle-hardened from handicap hurdles.

“We will see what each race looks like. If anything was to happen that he couldn’t run at Doncaster, he will go to Warwick for the Kingmaker but he is a better-ground horse and he will get that at Doncaster and not Warwick.”

Yanworth claimed a narrow victory in a thrilling renewal of the BetBright Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.

Alan King’s Grade One-winning hurdler had made a fairly inauspicious start to his career over fences, winning despite failing to convince on his debut at Exeter before falling at the same venue.

His jumping was again far from perfect when second behind Willoughby Court at Newbury a month ago, but with Yanworth 5lb better off at the weights, the pair were 15-8 joint-favourites for the rematch.

Both horses travelled strongly for much of the two-mile-five-furlong journey and, on this occasion, it was Willoughby Court who made the first serious mistake four fences from the finish.

The two market leaders moved up to challenge Sizing Tennessee for the lead on the run to the second-last, but Willoughby Court weakened soon after and it was left for Yanworth to master his other rival.

King’s charge was big and bold when he needed to be at the final obstacle and while he gave Sizing Tennessee hope by idling on the run-in, Barry Geraghty’s mount passed the post a neck to the good.

King said: “He’s going to be the death of me but his jumping was good.”