Lucinda Russell will weigh up her options for the exciting Corach Rambler, who holds entries in both the Agetur UK Ltd Classic Chase and the Wigley Group Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick on Saturday.
Russell, who has also entered stable stalwart Big River in the £100,000 Classic Chase, is quietly tempted by the prospect of running Corach Rambler in the feature race, despite the eight-year-old only having had three races over fences.
The handicapper has raised him 15lb for wins at Aintree and Cheltenham and Russell is keen to see how he would fare in open company, especially as he would be at a disadvantage at the weights if clashing with Paul Nicholls’ Threeunderthrufive in the Grade Two novice chase.
“We’ll have a look at the weights and everything and see what we do with Big River because he’s in at Kelso on Sunday as well,” said Russell.
“If the ground isn’t too bad, Corach might go in the handicap.
“He’s definitely an improving horse. He goes under the radar a little bit because of Ahoy Senor but he done nothing wrong and is clearly improving.
“In my view he stays, I know Scu (Peter Scudamore, partner and assistant trainer) is 100 per cent sure that he will, but I think he will and maybe off 142 there’s a little bit of wriggle room.
“If he ran in the Grade Two novice he’d have to improve at least 6lb to beat Threeunderthrufive, so I think he might be better off in the big handicap going for a big pot.
“He’s eight, he’s still improving and when you watch Cheltenham again, he’s got a bit more still to come. It’s exciting to have another big weekend coming up.”
Russell won the Classic with subsequent Grand National winner One For Arthur in 2017 and would not rule out Big River if the going was testing.
“He seems extremely well, he’s jumping better than he ever has, he’s just turned 12 and he’s finally got the hang of it,” she went on.
“He’s blossoming so he could go to Warwick or Kelso, which is a track he loves but that’s only three miles. I suppose he’ll go where the ground is softest.”
Others in the Classic Chase mix include the Venetia Williams-trained pair of Achille and Commodore, Dr Richard Newland’s Minella Encore and Henry Daly’s Head To The Stars.
There are seven possibles in the Hampton Novices’ Chase, which it was announced on Monday carries a £25,000 bonus to any horse who wins it and follows up at Cheltenham in March.
Any News, Doyen Breed, Midnight River, Mint Condition and Mossey Fen could take on Threeunderthrufive and Corach Rambler.
The Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle has attracted 14 entries as the other Grade Two on the card.
Gelino Bello, Howdyalikemenow, Gordon Elliott’s Mr Fred Rogers, Stag Horn and Surrey Quest are among them.