Ga Law in ‘great order’ for Pendil assignment

Jamie Snowden is in optimistic mood for Ga Law’s return to action in the Close Brothers Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton.

The Sinndar gelding provided his trainer with a first victory at graded level when readily beating two rivals in the “Rising Stars” Novices’ Chase at Wincanton in November.

A drop in trip and a rise in class for the Grade One Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown a month later ultimately proved too much, but Snowden feels his stable star has a good chance of getting back on the winning trail in Saturday’s Grade Two contest.

“He had a bit of a break and a quiet month after the Henry VIII, but he’s back in and in top shape and goes to Kempton in great order,” said the Lambourn-based trainer.

“He’s obviously got to carry a 5lb penalty for his Grade Two win at Wincanton, and his weight-for-age is diminishing as the months progress, so he’s got to keep improving – but he’s in good order, and we go there with every chance.

“Kempton is not too dissimilar to Wincanton, and I think going back up to two-and-a-half will help.

“In the Henry VIII he was just taken off his feet slightly, but he was only beaten just over 10 lengths and wasn’t disgraced.”

Ga Law’s biggest threat appears to be the Paul Nicholls-trained Tamaroc Du Mathan, last seen filling the runner-up spot behind Arkle favourite Shishkin in the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton in December.

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Nicholls told Betfair: “He made quite an impression on his chasing debut at Wincanton, where he jumped for fun and readily pulled clear in the closing stages.

“I thought he then ran really well when runner up to Shishkin at Kempton over Christmas. I’ve been waiting for better ground for Tamaroc Du Mathan ever since, and everything looks set for another big run from him.”

Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Coole Cody (Evan Williams) and Son Of Camas (Nicky Henderson) are the other hopefuls.

Nicholls also has a leading contender for the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle, in the hat-trick seeking Atholl Street.

The Trevor Hemmings-owned six-year-old has earned the step up to Grade Two level, following a pair of facile wins at Taunton.

“He is another of mine that loves decent ground, so I have saved him for this race since he hacked up at Taunton early in December,” Nicholls added.

“That was his second impressive win at the Somerset track, and he fully deserves a step up in class.

“While he still holds an entry in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, a good run at Kempton is more likely to book his ticket for Aintree.”

Chief among Atholl Street’s rivals is Calico, who is trained by Nicholls’ former assistant Dan Skelton.

A high-class performer on the Flat in Germany, the five-year-old made a successful hurdling debut for his new connections at Ludlow.

Skelton said: “I’m really happy with him and I think the track will suit him.

“He has got high-class form on the Flat. He should be able to go at the pace they are likely to go in this race.

“It is a big step from his win at Ludlow, but I feel he can compete at this level – and he has performed well on better ground in the past.”

Emmet Mullins saddles Irish Cesarewitch winner Cape Gentleman, who needs to bounce back from a disappointing effort at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Alan King is hoping Son Of Red can earn himself a shot at the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.

“I don’t know whether he’ll be up to this, but he needs a third run to qualify for the Fred Winter (Boodles),” said the Barbury Castle trainer.

“He has to have a third run by Sunday, so that’s why he’s running.

“I think he’s done well for his break. Whether he’s quite up to this level, I don’t know, but we have to go somewhere with him.”

Lunar Sovereign (Fergal O’Brien), Mackenberg (Donald McCain) and Pyramid Place (Milton Harris) complete the field.

Jamie Snowden has Pendil plan for Ga Law

Jamie Snowden expects the step back up in trip to play to the strengths of Ga Law in the Betway Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton.

The Lambourn handler has earmarked the extended two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two prize on February 27 as the next target for the five-year-old, who struck gold at the same level in the Rising Star Novices’ Chase at Wincanton in November.

Ga Law lost his unbeaten record over fences when dropped to two miles for the first time on his Grade One debut in last month’s Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, finishing third to Allmankind.

Snowden said: “Ga Law will have a bit of a break and the plan is to go for the Pendil at Kempton next month.

“He jumps brilliantly, but by the end of the Railway Fences he was five lengths behind Allmankind in the blink of an eye.

“It was a good run at Sandown though and he was staying on from the back of the last which was encouraging.

“Back up to two and a half miles will be better for him as he just found the two miles too sharp.”

A step up to two and a half miles is also on the agenda for Kiltealy Briggs, who is being aimed at the Grade Two Altcar Novices’ Chase at Haydock on January 23.

The seven-year-old has yet to finish outside of the frame in two starts over fences this season, having filled the runner-up spot on his return at Carlisle before claiming third in a Grade Two at Ascot just before Christmas.

Snowden added: “The plan is to go to the Altcar and it will be good to get some more experience into him. He likes soft ground so it should be perfect there.

“He will want three miles in time, as that is when he will be seen at his best – he will be a proper stayer.”

Snowden happy to test Ga Law’s speed in Henry VIII

Jamie Snowden is confident Ga Law can handle a drop in trip when putting his unbeaten record over fences on the line in the Planteur At Chapel Stud Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown.

The four-year-old, who is three from three since being sent chasing, will race over two miles for the first time on his Grade One debut on Saturday.

Ga Law took his form to new heights after following up victories at Fontwell and Exeter with an emphatic success in the Grade Two Rising Star Novices’ Chase at Wincanton last time out.

Snowden said: “He has looked pretty impressive in his three starts to date over fences.

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“The beginners’ chase at Fontwell over an extended two miles and three furlongs looked the right place to start him off, and then we thought we would take advantage of his handicap mark over two three at Exeter.

“The Rising Stars at Wincanton fitted nicely into his programme to then go to the Henry VIII.

“Dropping back in trip is the one question mark. But his half-brother wanted two miles, and there is no reason why this chap can’t.”

Paul Nicholls has entered Hitman and Tamaroc Du Mathan, who were both impressive last time out at Ffos Las and Wincanton respectively.

“If it didn’t rain much all week, he (Tamaroc Du Mathan) would run and Hitman would go to Exeter on Friday, but if it did rain a lot then Hitman, who was very impressive at Ffos Las, would run at Sandown,” said Nicholls.

“Tamroc Du Mathan was awesome at Wincanton, but that was in a handicap and this is a Grade One, which is big difference as it is a big step up in class. You would expect most of those in the line up to have done what he did at Wincanton.

“We did think about running Tamaroc Du Mathan at Newbury last week, but in my experience, backing horses up that quickly doesn’t often work out.”

Dan Skelton has entered Allmankind, who was electric on his chasing debut at Warwick, and like Hitman and Ga Law is only four, so will get a weight allowance.

Nicky Henderson’s Fusil Raffles needs to bounce back from a disappointing display in a Cheltenham Grade Two, while Eldorado Allen, who won that race, could also turn up.

Harry Fry’s Phoenix Way, another to win on his chasing debut, and the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained mare Zambella complete the list.

Snowden eyes Sandown with Ga Law

Ga Law will head for a Grade One assignment at Sandown next month following his facile victory at Wincanton.

Trainer Jamie Snowden believes the four-year-old is ready to try his hand at the top level in the Racing TV Henry VIII Novices’ Chase, after he took his unbeaten record over fences to three with a 22-length romp in the Grade Two ‘Rising Stars’ Novices’ Chase on Saturday.

“He’s come out of the race really well and is bouncing away,” said Snowden.

“He didn’t lose much weight, eight kilogrammes. He’s in great order with himself.

“It’s a really wonderful start to his chasing career. Now we can start planning and plotting going forward.

“After he crossed the line at Exeter, we had the Rising Stars as the aim, and then we were thinking about the Henry VIII at Sandown. I don’t think there’s any reason to deviate off that plan. That will be next.

“It’s a Grade One, so he doesn’t carry a penalty, and it’s a stiff two miles on softer ground and a good jumping test. It should play to his strengths.”