Step Back can ad­vance Na­tional hopes at War­wick

Brad­stock’s flag-bearer eyes Clas­sic Chase win Wil­loughby Court put down fol­low­ing surgery

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Racing - By Mar­cus Army­tage RAC­ING COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Step Back, the heir to Coney­gree as flag-bearer for Mark Brad­stock’s Let­combe Bas­sett yard after his Bet365 Gold Cup vic­tory at Sandown on the fi­nal day of last sea­son, can land an­other big stay­ing prize by tak­ing the Mccoy Con­trac­tors Civil En­gi­neer­ing Clas­sic Chase at War­wick to­day.

Like Coney­gree, Step Back has is­sues but his are to do with ty­ing up and a mus­cle-en­zyme prob­lem, so his day be­gins with five hours in the pad­dock to help him loosen up.

The nine-year-old, who is rid­den by David Bass to­day, needed his first start at Chep­stow be­hind The Young Mas­ter in Oc­to­ber. He jumped a bit to the right there, which he would not want to do at War­wick. How­ever, he has the cheek-pieces back on to­day and be­fore he went to Sandown last year he won round Fak­en­ham’s tight left-handed course.

He has been fly­ing at home lately and can en­hance his Grand Na­tional as­pi­ra­tions by win­ning the race which One For Arthur took on the way to Ain­tree two years ago.

Mi­lans­bar won it un­der Bry­ony Frost last year be­fore fifth place in the Na­tional. With Frost at Kemp­ton to ride Black Cor­ton, Gina An­drews, the cham­pion lady point-to-point jockey, comes in for the ride but it may not be quite soft enough for him to­day and the main dan­ger to Step Back may be Co­gry.

Most of Co­gry’s win­ning has been at Chel­tenham, but he won a novice chase at War­wick in 2015 and is a threat.

At Kemp­ton, the Uni­bet Lan­zarote Hur­dle should go to the Gary Moore-trained Kloud Gate and, while the 32Red Casino Chase may be short on quan­tity, it is long on qual­ity. Kim Bai­ley’s Char­bel should tri­umph.

Own­ers Paul and Clare Rooney, who in­structed their train­ers not to run their horses at Chel­tenham be­cause of safety con­cerns after los­ing two there last sea­son, lost their 2017 Nep­tune Hur­dle win­ner Wil­loughby Court yes­ter­day.

He was put down after surgery on a per­sis­tent in­fec­tion which he picked up at home. “Be­ing our first Fes­ti­val win­ner means he will be very fondly remembered,” said his trainer, Ben Paul­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.