Graham mulling Cheltenham or Doncaster for Aye Right

Aye Right is on course to return to action at either Cheltenham or Doncaster later this month.

Trainer Harriet Graham is planning to run her stable star in either the Cotswold Chase or the Sky Bet Handicap Chase on January 29. Aye Right was runner-up in the latter event at Doncaster last winter.

Graham is already looking further ahead and has given the nine-year-old an entry in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

“He’s in good form. He had a racecourse gallop at Musselburgh yesterday (Monday). He’s grand,” said Graham.

“We’ve got the Sky Bet Chase at the end of the month or the Cotswold at Cheltenham. It will be either of those two. And then we’ve got entries coming up for the spring.

“We’ve entered him in the Gold Cup and he’ll be entered in the Ultima as well. You need to have an entry, otherwise you don’t want to be supplementing them at a later date.”

Aye Right was last seen landing a deserved success in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle in November. The form of that race was given a boost when the head runner-up, Good Boy Bobby, won the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day, but there is a slight sting in the tail as the handicapper chose to put Aye Right up 1lb.

“He’s gone up 1lb for standing in his stable because Good Boy Bobby, who he beat at Newcastle, won at Wetherby over Christmas,” she said.

“It’s all systems go. Obviously, we’re not running him as often as we did last year just to try to keep him fresh. He’s very well.”

Graham has ruled out a crack at the Randox Grand National this year, but the Aintree spectacular could be on the agenda in 2023 if the owners approve.

“The owners are not keen on the National. Possibly next year, they said,” the Jedburgh trainer went on.

“It’s a lot safer race but it still has that reputation. You just have to go on what the owners want. He’s not a big horse, but then again neither was Tiger Roll! It’s just nice to have a horse that people are talking about for those races.”

Aye Right was 10th in the Scottish Grand National in 2021 and this year it will be run a week earlier than the Aintree feature and not a week later.

“It’s a funny year as Ayr is before the National. They are obviously trying to persuade people to run at Cheltenham and Aintree. It will make the Scottish National a strange race. They’ve swapped things round a bit so the spring is not like it was last year,” Graham added.

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