Tag Archive for: Dingo Dollar

Dingo Dollar heads to Doncaster for National prep

Dingo Dollar will complete his Randox Grand National preparations with an outing at Doncaster on Wednesday.

The 10-year-old, currently a general 50-1 chance for the Aintree feature, lines up in the Virgin Bet Veterans’ Handicap Chase on what will be his first start since finishing third in a strong renewal of the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle in November.

Dingo Dollar is currently rated 148 and should make the cut for the National with ease and trainer Sandy Thomson admits he was keen to protect that mark.

“That will be his prep-run for the National,” said Thomson.

“We are looking forward to that. We didn’t dare run him before that to save his weight.

“The ground is not ideal, but he will get a run and then it is all systems go to Aintree.”

Dingo Dollar will face five rivals at Doncaster, including Vintage Clouds and Black Op.

While Thomson has no concerns about Dingo Dollar making the Aintree line-up, he admitted his frustration that narrow Becher Chase runner-up Hill Sixteen will likely miss out.

He was beaten just a nose by Snow Leopardess over the National fences in December, but while the winner is a 14-1 chance and reasonably well-placed on the list at this point, Hill Sixteen sits well outside the top 40 on a mark of 138 after pulling up in the Welsh National and finishing fourth in the Sky Bet Chase last time.

“Unfortunately, it seems the Grand National qualification is totally ridiculous, as far as I am concerned,” said Thomson.

“You get something like Hill Sixteen that runs in the Becher and you just get beaten by a horse that is the top British challenger for the National, and he can’t get into the National.

“They need to start making a qualification procedure, and need to look at having some qualifying races, so these thorough stayers who will be ideally suited to Aintree get a chance to get in.”

While Aintree appears to be off the table, a National bid is still in prospect for Hill Sixteen.

“The Scottish National is probably the long-term plan for him,” confirmed Thomson.

“Whether he goes to the Grimthorpe Chase before that, I’m not really sure.

“He ran a hell of a race at Doncaster the last day on ground that was far too quick for him. The way the ground is at the moment, at Doncaster, over another two furlongs on softer ground, maybe he goes for the Grimthorpe.”

Thomson relies on Dollar and Master for second Rehearsal success

Sandy Thomson fires a twin assault in his bid for back-to-back victories in the Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on Saturday.

The Berwickshire-based trainer saddled popular veteran Yorkhill to claim a surprise victory in the Listed contest 12 months ago and is this year represented by a pair of course and distance winners.

The market leader is The Ferry Master, who having rounded off last season by finishing fourth in the Scottish Grand National, made a promising return when third at Musselburgh earlier this month.

His stablemate Dingo Dollar filled the runner-up spot when favourite for the Scottish Grand National and is expected to improve from his comeback fourth at Kelso.

Thomson said: “It was a very competitive race that Dingo Dollar ran in at Kelso and it probably wasn’t an ideal preparation for The Ferry Master at Musselburgh, but it was the only place to go.

“We were delighted with both runs. Dingo Dollar is in great form, he’s run well in a couple of Ladbrokes Trophys in the past and he’s in on a nice mark.

“If you’re going to be realistic, you hope The Ferry Master is a progressive, young horse. Whether he quite stayed in the Scottish National, we’re not sure.

“I hope they’ll both run nice races on Saturday.”

The weights are headed by Ann Hamilton’s Nuts Well, who steps up to three miles for the first time after finishing fifth when defending his crown in the two-and-a-half-mile Old Roan Chase at Aintree.

Next on the list is the Harriet Graham-trained Aye Right, who blew away a few cobwebs when fifth behind Nuts Well at Kelso last month.

“Last year it was incredibly exciting to go to Newbury (finished second in Ladbrokes Trophy). We made a decision fairly early on that we won’t going there this year – it seems a very strong renewal of the race,” Graham told Sky Sports Racing.

“Newcastle is 45 minutes away, the Rehearsal Chase is also a competitive race and we decided to go local rather than go all the way to Newbury to take on the Irish.

“He so deserves to win a race. He’s come on immensely for that run (at Kelso) and we’ve also taken him to Carlisle for a racecourse gallop.

“He’s been working really well at home and schooled really well – it’s all systems go.”

Dan Skelton is keen on the chances of Spiritofthegames, who was only beaten seven lengths in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham a fortnight ago.

He said: “I’m starting to fancy him for this race. In the Paddy Power, he didn’t quite have the legs for two and a half miles.

“He’s a bit older, he’s been to all those two-and-a-half-mile dances and we’re now going to go to all the three-mile dances.

“Hopefully we can win one – he deserves to.

“I can see him going really well at Newcastle on decent ground.”