Jamie Snowden’s Colonel Harry will look to make a success of the next step in his chasing career in the William Hill Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby on Saturday.
The chestnut made a good start over fences with a taking victory at Chepstow, after which he stepped up in level to finish second behind Le Patron in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown.
Those runs follow a good spell over hurdles, though Snowden has always expected chasing to be his forte and hopes he will continue to be proved right as he steps up to just short of two and a half miles in Yorkshire.
“He was a decent novice hurdler but always threatened to be a better chaser and so it has proved so far,” he said.
“He won very nicely on his chasing debut at Chepstow and then put in a huge performance when second in a Grade One at Sandown the last day.
“A mistake at the first just put him on the back foot and he was always playing catch-up from then. He almost made up the ground and was closing all the way to the line, but just didn’t quite get up.
“I think the step up in trip here should suit him now. There are nice horses in this race and he needs to go and do it, but it looks the right race for him and he will like the ground and he’s in great form.”
Also involved is Kim Bailey’s Trelawne, a winner on seasonal debut at Carlisle and then third in a Cheltenham novice chase in mid-December.
Bailey was intending to run the eight-year-old elsewhere but with an eye on the weather forecast, he has opted to aim for Wetherby at the weekend.
“It is kind of a late decision and our original plan was to go to Chepstow on Tuesday, but they think that won’t be on,” he said.
“He needs racecourse experience so we have decided to reroute here, but Jamie Snowden’s horse looks took tough to beat at the weights.
“If the ratings are correct then it could be quite an interesting race, but we shall see and Trelawne needs experience.
“If he hadn’t made the mistake at the last then he might have gone a bit closer at Cheltenham (last time), but he is a nice horse I hope.”
Olly Murphy’s Chasing Fire was luckless when unseating his rider last time out at Aintree, prior to which he was well beaten in an Ayr novice on his second start of the season following a winning debut over fences at Uttoxeter.
The step up in trip is expected to suit, however, with the gelding having three victories over hurdles to his name, alongside a bumper and a point-to-point success.
Murphy said: “Two miles round Ayr was far too sharp for him and he had a good start to his chasing career at Uttoxeter, while he was unfortunate to unseat Harry (Skelton) at the first at Aintree the last day.
“He’s up in trip and it’s a bit more of a test of stamina than he’s been used to. He’s still unexposed and a big, slow track will suit him.”
Dan Skelton’s The King Of Ryhope also holds an entry, with Hurricane Highway and Meetingofthewaters non runners.
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