Nuts Well to miss Silviniaco Conti Chase

Nuts Well will sit out the long journey to Kempton for the Silviniaco Conti Chase.

Ann Hamilton’s stable star has not been seen in competitive action since landing the Old Roan Chase at Aintree in October, having since missed the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon after it was abandoned and switched to Cheltenham, and then the Castleford at Wetherby because testing ground.

Hamilton and her husband Ian were considering travelling from Northumberland to Sunbury-on-Thames for Saturday’s Grade Two feature, but their 10-year-old will instead enjoy a short break following veterinary advice.

“We were thinking about going, but we’ve had the vet here looking at another horse and he’s thinking our horses might be going over the top,” said Hamilton.

“Nuts Well is perfectly all right, but we’ve been training him on and off for the last 10 weeks since he ran. It’s frosty ground, it’s been difficult the getting the horses out and he has been in (training) a long time.

“We’re going to give him a break and hopefully we’ll find a nice race for him at the end of February or something like that.”

The initial plan had been to head south to take on Grade Two opposition again.

“It’s disappointing, because we were working up to do these things,” added Hamilton.

“But we don’t want to go all the way to Kempton if he’s not at his best – and it is a very hot race.”

Peterborough Chase a possible option for Aintree hero Nuts Well

The Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon has emerged as a potential next port of call for Nuts Well following his surprise victory in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree on Sunday.

One of just a handful of horses trained in Northumberland by Ann Hamilton and owned by her husband Ian, the nine-year-old charged home on Merseyside to upset the big guns in the hands of conditional jockey Danny McMenamin.

While appreciative of the biggest success of their training career, there was no basking in the glory for the husband-and-wife team on Monday, with Ann Hamilton saying: “It was straight back into work this morning. Ian has been doing his jobs on the farm and it’s been busy.

“We were absolutely thrilled yesterday. He (Nuts Well) was tired this morning, because obviously ran his best, but he’s been out in the field today and he’s covered in mud – you wouldn’t recognise him!”

Hamilton admitted the victory came as a surprise and she must now start looking for races in the programme book she has never previously considered.

She said: “He’s worked his way up the handicap. We didn’t know whether to go to Aintree or wait for a race at Wetherby on Friday, but we felt the horse was in good form and we’d go to Aintree and give it a go.

“We’d have been thrilled if he’d finished in the first four and at one point it looked like he was going backwards, but when Danny got him pulled out he came with a run.

“He’s won for us every year since he was a four-year-old. He can throw in a bad one, as they all can, but he’s been the horse of a lifetime for us really.”

Asked about future plans, Hamilton added: “I’m not used to this at all! We’re not great travellers, but we’ve said this will be the only chance we’ll have to have a go.

“Richard Hale, the jockeys’ agent, has been on the phone and he says the Peterborough Chase over two and half miles might be a good race for him. Other than that, Ian wants to lift him up to three miles, but the Peterborough Chase would look the race at the moment.

“It’s lovely to have a horse that can run in these races and we’ll have to look after him – we can’t run him every couple of weeks.”

Nuts Well springs Old Roan surprise at Aintree

Nuts Well gave Northumberland trainer Ann Hamilton her biggest success to date in the Monet’s Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree.

The nine-year-old, whose top-weight of 11st 10lb was reduced by the 3lb claim of jockey Danny McMenamin, outstayed Clondaw Castle to claim the £36,000 first prize.

Imperial Presence made most of the running with Midnight Shadow and Crievehill to the fore with the latter going on four out.

He was soon challenged by Oldgrangewood and Clondaw Castle, who put in their bids with Itchy Feet and Nuts Well.

There was little between the quartet at the last, but Nuts Well (18-1) and Clondaw Castle knuckled down to fight it the finish.

It was only in the closing strides Nuts Well got on top, to win by a length and a half. Itchy Feet was a length back in third, with four and a half lengths back to Oldgrangewood in fourth.

Nuts Well was given a quote of 33-1 for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival with Betfair and Paddy Power.

Downpatrick-born McMenamin – who is based with Nicky Richards, who trained three-time Old Roan winner Monet’s Garden – told Racing TV: “He showed a lot of heart out there today, he had to dig deep for it but he did it in the end.

“I didn’t want to rush him, I wanted him to see out the trip. He got the revs up a bit at the last and got in a bit tight, but he was quick away from the back of it.

“It’s great to win this race.”

There was early drama in the two-and-a-half-mile feature when Robbie Power was unseated from the well-fancied Vision Des Flos at the second fence.

The obstacle was bypassed on the second circuit as the Gold Cup-winning rider received treatment, but while stood down for the rest of the day he was able to walk back into the weighing room, having thankfully escaped serious injury.

Elsewhere on the card, Minellacelebration continued his love affair with the Merseyside venue as he recorded a third course and distance success in the Every Race Live On Racing TV Veterans’ Handicap Chase.

The 11-year-old, trained by Katy Price, quickly put the race to bed after leading at the second-last fence in the hands of Ben Poste.

The rest of the field were playing for places as the 15-2 chance ran out an emphatic winner of leg three of the veterans’ chase series over three miles and a furlong.

Minellacelebration scored by 14 lengths with Pobbles Bay staying on to claim second spot by a neck from Sametegal.