George aims to get a Shuffle on today
TOM George is hoping Double Shuffle can run up to his best Kempton form when he goes for Grade Two honours in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby today.
The eight-year-old put up a first-class display to push Might Bite to a length in the King George VI Chase at Kempton last Christmas and a reproduction of that form should see him go close.
There is all to pay for in the three-mile feature after horses such as Thistlecrack and Bristol de Mai were not declared due to the ground not being on the soft side. However, conditions should suit George’s runner.
“He’s in good form. He’ll get his ground, he hasn’t had it for a bit. It’s a starting point,” said the Slad trainer.
“He had a nice summer, he’s in good form and we’re looking for a nice run.
“He obviously seems to be better round Kempton than anywhere else, but I think Wetherby should suit him, it’s a flat track which he likes, and he likes the better ground, so let’s hope he can show his Kempton form.”
Anthony Honeyball does not want the going to be too quick for Regal Encore, who is ready to grab this opportunity rather than take up his other engagement at Ascot the same afternoon.
“His prep has gone really well. We had this race and the one at Ascot in mind. With the race at Wetherby cutting up we’re letting him take his chance there,” said Honeyball.
“He’s not too badly off at the weights. It’s a realistic opportunity for him.”
He added: “We’ve declared on good ground, but we’ll have to see what people think of the ground up there. As long as it’s safe ground then we’re looking forward to running him.”
Paul Nicholls is not con- cerned about the ground for Black Corton, who is having his first race since April after being successful a total of nine times from June through to February.
“Black Corton doesn’t mind if the ground is quick,” Nicholls said.
“Frodon did well on Sunday (winning the Old Roan Chase) and Black Corton is very much in the same mould as him.
“He’s not an obvious Gold Cup winner, but he’ll run well to his level and if the ground is quick the Charlie Hall might well suit him.”
Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red will attempt to improve two places on his third spot in this race 12 months ago, while Dan Skelton’s Virgilio, a dual winner in the summer, completes the quintet.
In good form: Double Shuffle
No concerns: Paul Nicholls