Cheltenham Briefing: Tommy to make stamina tell.
Handicap chase (4m1f)
Sir Frosty has been raised 5lb since he won over four miles last month, while Wonder Weasel is 4lb higher than when scoring over three miles three weeks ago. Royal Tommy makes a quick reappearance after his seventh in the Welsh National.
David Pipe, son of Martin Pipe, trainer of Polar Champ
"He has been a great servant, but though he stays all day, the ground might be softer than ideal. The key is if AP can get him jumping."
Richard Lee, trainer of Samuel Wilderspin
"I've always thought this race would suit him. My one concern is the going."
Kim Bailey, trainer of Wonder Weasel
"Four miles will be a fair old slog and he has always given the impression he will stay further. The form of his win at Wetherby has worked out well."
Bob Buckler, trainer of Royal Tommy
"He dropped himself out in the Welsh National after a mistake down the far side, but he was finishing as well as anything. It will be gruelling but that's what he thrives on."
David Elsworth, trainer of High Cotton
"He's tough and durable, and four miles should suit. He was nearly knocked over at Newbury last time and lost 20 lengths, but he's lazy and can make his own bad luck."
Ferdy 'hopeful' King can return to form
Handicap chase (2m5f)
Blowing Wind, who shaped well over the Martell Grand National fences on his return, is being prepared for another tilt at Aintree next April. Hat-trick-seeker Halexy will have his share of supporters after decisive successes here and at Chepstow, while Katarino returns after more than a year on the sidelines nursing a leg injury, though he did win on his comeback from a similar lay-off last season.
Ballinclay King is guaranteed to go in the ground.
David Pipe, son and assistant of Martin Pipe, trainer of Exit Swinger and Blowing Wind
"Exit Swinger has been in the grip of the handicapper since winning a desperate race at Newbury over a year ago, and we're hoping he can return to form after a couple of disappointing efforts. Blowing Wind won the Mildmay and will love the ground."
Nicky Henderson, trainer of Katarino
"He came back with a bit of a leg after finishing third on his second run over fences on quicker ground than he would have liked. Fortunately we got him back within a year, and he has done plenty of work and loves his jumping, though against him is the fact that he has so little experience."
Ferdy Murphy, trainer of Ballinclay King
"He won a Grade 1 as a novice over the Mildmay fences at Aintree, but has been giving away stacks of weight this season. He will absolutely adore the ground, as well as appreciate getting weight from horses. Mine have been a bit backward, but I think they're just coming into full swing again and I'm hoping for a big run."
Tote: 14 Ad Hoc, Gunner Welburn, 20 Bindaree, Chives, Davids Lad, Marlborough, 25 Beau, Behrajan, Carbury Cross, Commanche Court, Gingembre, Kingsmark, Mini Sensation, Paris Pike, Whats Up Boys, 33 bar.
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2003|
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