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Siz­ing John, seen here win­ing the 2017 Chel­tenham Gold Cup, will be aimed at jump rac­ing’s £1m Triple Crown bonus this sea­son, says trainer Jes­sica Har­ring­ton. The prize is of­fered for a horse that wins the Bet­fair Chase at Hay­dock, Kemp­ton’s King Ge­orge VI Chase and the Gold Cup.

Our res­i­dent tipster casts his eye over Ex­eter on Novem­ber 7

Paul Ni­cholls and owner John Hales en­joyed Hal­don Gold Cup suc­cess in 2004 when the top-class Az­er­tyuiop was vic­to­ri­ous and they can strike again, with POLI­TO­LOGUE fan­cied to pro­vide the trainer with his sixth win in the race.

The grey won three of his first four starts last term – the de­feat com­ing at Hay­dock when try­ing to con­cede 3lbs to Wait­ing Pa­tiently when he was prob­a­bly set alight too far from home – he was un­lucky in Ain­tree’s Maghull Novices’ Chase on Grand Na­tional day, form that has al­ready been franked this sea­son.

Head­strong as usual, he took the race by the scruff of the neck early in the home straight and looked the like­li­est win­ner when jump­ing the last, only to stum­ble sev­eral strides af­ter the fence. Even­tual sec­ond For­est Bi­han has al­ready made a winning reap­pear­ance at Kelso, where he scored off 154, the same mark that Poli­to­logue will run off at Ex­eter (Novem­ber 7).

The drop back to this sort of trip will prove ad­van­ta­geous un­til he learns to set­tle a lit­tle more and this looks the ideal start­ing point to what could prove to be a suc­cess­ful sec­ond sea­son over fences.

Three days ear­lier the stay­ing chasers will take cen­tre stage up at Wether by in the Char­lie Hall, but the Gold Cup pic­ture might be more in fo­cus over in Ire­land, with Down Royal stag­ing the JNWine.com Cham­pion Chase on the same day.

The en­tries came out for this race re­cently and two most in­ter­est­ing are Our Duke and Disko, both Grade 1 winning novices last term. The for­mer scored at the top level over Christ­mas and, af­ter go­ing down nar­rowly to Disko over 2m5½f in the Flo­gas Novice Chase, recorded a high-class hand­i­cap per­for­mance in the Ir­ish Grand Na­tional, scor­ing off a mark of 153. A strong stayer, the seven-year-old looks just the type to de­velop into a gen­uine Gold Cup con­tender this win­ter and he might well be up to mak­ing a winning reap­pear­ance.

Reg­u­lar read­ers of my work – fea­tured in Jumpers To Fol­low as a novice hur­dler – will know that I have been a fan of Disko since his bumper days and he also flour­ished as a novice chaser last term.He was a length off Our Duke over 3m in De­cem­ber and, af­ter ex­act­ing his re­venge in the Flo­gas (Gal­way Plate win­ner Balko Des Flos fin­ished third), he fin­ished third to Yorkhill in the JLT be­fore land­ing a sec­ond Grade 1 at Punchestown. That was his first suc­cess over the trip (3m½f) but it opens up fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties and he is also likely to be cam­paigned with the Gold Cup in mind. Ver­sa­tile in terms of ground, he is rather like Poli­to­logue in that he is a keen-go­ing grey, but he seems to be learn­ing to re­lax as he gets older.

Back at Wetherby, the West York­shire Hur­dle could be where The Worlds End kicks off his sec­ond sea­son over hur­dles and Tom Ge­orge’s Sefton Novices’Hur­dle win­ner is one that could well bridge the gap into open com­pany.

The six-year-old, who took a nasty fall in the Al­bert Bartlett at Chel­tenham, was winning for the fourth time over tim­ber at Ain­tree and, though the winning mar­gin was nar­row in the end, he idled late on at the end of a long sea­son and was value for more, given how he trav­elled over the op­po­si­tion. Rated 149, the Fixed Brush Hur­dle at Hay­dock – where he won im­pres­sively ear­lier last sea­son – would be an­other op­tion, along with New­bury’s Long Dis­tance Hur­dle, but this could be the kind­est in­tro­duc­tion to life out­side of novice com­pany, should the ground be deemed suit­able.

The fol­low­ing Satur­day (11th), Win­can­ton stages the Bad­ger Ales Chase in which Char­lie Longs­don in­tends on sad­dling Our Kaempfer, an­other horse that I have long been a fan of. If truth were told, the eight-year-old hasn’t won as many races as his abil­ity should have al­lowed him to, but I still be­lieve that he is at his best on a flat right-handed track and his record that way around reads 4111. His sole vic­tory over fences came at Kemp­ton in Jan­uary, when he bolted up off 138, and given that he has gone well when fresh in the past, a big run could be on the cards here off 146.

At­ten­tion moves to Chel­tenham the fol­low­ing week­end for what is al­ways a fan­tas­tic three-day meet­ing, with the fea­ture on day two be­ing the BetVic­tor Gold Cup. En­tries aren’t avail­able for any of the races at this fix­ture at the time of writ­ing and, while it could be that he needs a shade fur­ther and might well wait for New­bury, I wouldn’t be sur­prised to see

Sin­gle farm pay­ment given an en­try by Tom Ge­orge.

The seven-year-old won just once from five starts over fences last term, but he was go­ing well when be­ing brought down on tri­als day – ad­mit­tedly a long way from home – and he was beaten just a short head on the open­ing day of the fes­ti­val. The son of Mi­lan be­gins the sea­son on a mark of 146 and it will be dis­ap­point­ing if he can’t plun­der a valu­able prize at some stage.The Lad­brokes Tro­phy – or the Hen­nessy as we know it and will prob­a­bly con­tinue to re­fer to it as – is a more likely ob­jec­tive, but if the ground were soft I wouldn’t be sur­prised if con­nec­tions con­sid­ered run­ning in the Bet Vic­tor.

The fo­cus moves up north to Hay­dock on the fi­nal Satur­day of the month and Jes­sica Har­ring­ton is ex­pected to send her Gold Cup win­ner Siz­ing John across the Ir­ish Sea in an at­tempt to land the first leg of

the £1m ‘Triple Crown’.

Stepped up in trip for the first time last term, the seven-year-old won the Ir­ish equiv­a­lent at Leop­ard­stown in Fe­bru­ary and showed his hardy con­sti­tu­tion to com­plete a fa­mous hat-trick at the Punchestown Fes­ti­val. Very lightly raced as a stayer, there could be more to come from him this sea­son and he sets the stan­dard in this di­vi­sion.

HORSES TO WATCH

As for the sea­son so far, of the horses that we have seen in ac­tion in the early weeks of the new cam­paign ‘proper’ I was par­tic­u­larly taken with the way Jonjo O’Neill’s Palmers Hill trav­elled en route to scor­ing at Ut­tox­eter.

An ex­pen­sive winning Ir­ish pointer – won by a wide mar­gin at the sec­ond time of ask­ing, hav­ing fin­ished be­hind the ill­fated Fle­men­shill on de­but – the Gold Well four-year-old only had 1½ lengths in hand at the line in what looked a de­cent maiden hur­dle, but it was the way in which he joined is­sue up the home straight which im­pressed me most. He breezed through the race and gave a strong im­pres­sion that he could take a step up in class in his stride.

The sea­son re­ally got go­ing in midOc­to­ber at Chep­stow, with the two-day Sil­ver Tro­phy meet­ing very well con­tested. There were no­table names on show, but the pick of the win­ners for me was Alan King’s mare Mia’s Storm who trav­elled beau­ti­fully and jumped well en route to winning what looked a strong stay­ing novices’ chase.

The seven-year-old ended her hur­dling ca­reer on the up – putting up a ca­reer best at Hay­dock in May when she won a com­pet­i­tive hand­i­cap by an easy 8 lengths – and this for­mer winning Ir­ish pointer, who was pitched into Listed com­pany on her Rules de­but, looks very ex­cit­ing. Given the way she moved, she could eas­ily drop back in trip to around 2m4f if re­quired and, given that she has the op­tion of re­vert­ing to mares’ only races, King should have plenty of op­tions to play with.

The novice chaser most peo­ple ex­pected to light up the fix­ture was Finian’s Os­car who won on the Satur­day. The Mersey Novices’ Hur­dle win­ner wasn’t par­tic­u­larly flu­ent early on – re­ported to have scared him­self at the third and was al­lowed time to re­gain his con­fi­dence – but did warm to his task and was well on top in the clos­ing stages. The race, how­ever, fell apart with the un­for­tu­nate de­par­ture of Alcala as he left the back straight and Colin Tiz­zard’s ex­cit­ing fiveyear-old will be bet­ter judged af­ter his sec­ond start, which could come as soon as Chel­tenham’s open­ing meet­ing at the end of Oc­to­ber.

One fi­nal horse for the notebook from the open­ing con­test of the meet­ing is an­other Tiz­zard in­mate Lost in trans­la­tion . A strap­ping son of Fle­mensfirth, he had fin­ished fourth in what ap­peared to be a strong maiden Point-to-Point at Tat­ter­salls Farm last Novem­ber – JP McManus pur­chased the front two – and he took the eye with the ease in which he cruised into con­tention un­der Rob­bie Power. A mis­take three out – slipped and lost his back legs – prob­a­bly cost him the race, but he was soon back in front (pos­si­bly rushed back up too quickly) only to tire late on.It was a hugely promis­ing de­but un­der Rules and there are sure to be races to be won with him over hur­dles, although he will no doubt be a novice chaser to note in 12 months’ time.

Poli­ti­logue

The Worlds End

Our Kaempfer

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