Stuart Coltherd is eyeing a Doncaster double as Cooper’s Cross prepares for the Virgin Bet Grimthorpe Handicap Chase on Saturday.
The eight-year-old has been in good form all season, starting out with a win in a Carlisle handicap chase before placing in successive contests at Aintree and Musselburgh.
The Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster in late January brought about a step up in trip to three miles, a staying distance the gelding seemed to relish when prevailing by a length from Cap Du Nord under Coltherd’s son Sam.
That form was then boosted when the latter horse was a seven-length winner of the Swinley Chase at Ascot next time out.
Cooper’s Cross will return to a familiar track for his next outing, however, and is aimed at the Grimthorpe at Doncaster on Saturday.
The three-mile-two-furlong contest is another step up in trip for the gelding, something his trainer is hoping he will take in his stride at the weekend.
“He’s very well, he’s in at Doncaster and that would be the plan,” he said.
“He seemed to get the three miles at Doncaster last time, so I can’t imagine two furlongs would make a big difference to him.
“The form looks pretty solid, so we’ve got our fingers crossed.
“It’s good to have a horse that can compete in these races and he seems at the right end of the handicap anyway. We’ll just keep going with him and see how we go.”
Cooper’s Cross is one of 12 entries for the handicap highlight, with last year’s winner Undersupervision in contention for Nigel Twiston-Davies, while Kim Bailey’s Does He Know and the Charlie Longsdon-trained Castle Robin are among the leading lights.