Annie Mc is out to back up a fine effort in top-class handicap company when she competes against her own sex in the Yorkshire Silver Vase Mares’ Chase at Doncaster.
Trained by Jonjo O’Neill for the Coral Champions Club, the six-year-old won three last year before finishing unplaced behind Samcro at the Cheltenham Festival.
She looked in need of the run behind Nuts Well in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree but shaped better when fifth behind runaway winner Chatham Street Lad in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.
“We were thrilled with Annie’s run at Cheltenham. The race was seriously competitive and not really run to suit her, but she stayed on well,” said Coral’s Simon Clare.
“She’s in great form at home, and this looks a lovely opportunity for her. She handles this ground really well, and the trip and track should suit her too, so we are very hopeful of a big run.
“It’s a shame Jonjo (O’Neill) Junior can’t ride, because he’s in action at Newbury, but Richie McLernon knows her really well and is a top jockey.”
Paul Nicholls is represented on Town Moor on Tuesday by Cut The Mustard, who has her first start for the Ditcheat trainer since leaving Willie Mullins – and also her first start since having a wind operation.
She was a Listed winner in mares’ company at Naas last season, and finished second in the Flyingbolt Novices’ Chase against the boys.
“This is her first run for us since arriving from Ireland, where she earned a mark of 140 over fences,” Nicholls told Betfair.
“We gave Cut The Mustard a wind op in the summer; she has schooled well and is fit and ready to start in this Listed Mares’ Chase. We will know more about her after this.
Alan King runs Midnightreferendum, a winner on her chasing debut and second to Zambella in a Listed race at Warwick last time out.
“She was a very good second in a similar race at Warwick, where she jumped superbly and was just beaten by a better mare on the day,” King told his website.
The Nicky Richards-trained My Old Gold, Nicky Henderson’s Casablanca Mix and Henry Daly’s Chilli Filli add further strength in depth to an intriguing contest.