Greaneteen bids to become Nicholls’ next Haldon hero

Greaneteen bids to provide Paul Nicholls with a seventh victory in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.

It is 22 years since the Ditcheat handler first claimed the Grade Two prize with Lake Kariba (1998) – since when he has added to his tally with Flagship Uberalles (1999), Azertyuiop (2004), Tchico Polos (2010), Vibrato Valtat (2015) and Politologue (2017).

Flagship Uberalles, Azertyuiop and Politologue all feature on the roll of honour for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, with Flagship Uberalles and Politologue also claiming victory in the Tingle Creek at Sandown.

Nicholls is hoping Greaneteen, who won his first three starts over fences last season before finishing fourth in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham in March, can earn himself a shot at the top level with a successful reappearance on Tuesday.

Nicholls said: “He’s had this as his target since he came in, and we’re looking forward to him running.

“He appears in good shape, and we’re hopeful of a good run.”

Esprit Du Large makes his seasonal reappearance
Esprit Du Large makes his seasonal reappearance (Mark Kerton/PA)

Ben Pauling’s Global Citizen and the Evan Williams-trained Esprit Du Large both run for the first time since contesting the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham in the spring. Global Citizen finished fourth, while Esprit Du Large fell two fences from home.

“This is a race we thought might suit. It’s competitive, but we’ll give it a go,” said Williams.

“It’s a starting point, and you’ve got to start somewhere. It was either go up to Carlisle on Sunday and start on deep ground, or go down to Exeter and start on a less taxing surface, so we thought we’d go down there.

“I think the majority of the horses in the race are in the same type of boat – it’s all about who has improved and who hasn’t. This will tell us where everyone is.

“The only place to find out if we’ve improved is on the race track. We’ll soon know where we are.”

Mick Channon’s Glen Forsa has not been seen in competitive action since finishing third in a Newbury handicap chase 12 months ago.

Channon said: “He’s in great heart, and we’re very hopeful. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very hot race, but he couldn’t be in better nick.

“He had a little setback after Newbury – but his preparation for this race has gone well, and I’m very pleased with him.

“He’s been very consistent in what he’s done, so we’ll see what happens.”

The weights are headed by Bun Doran, whose trainer Tom George has won the race on three occasions – twice with the popular God’s Own and once with Sir Valentino.

Dan Skelton’s Not That Fuisse and Marracudja, Colin Tizzard’s Vision Des Flos, the David Brace-trained Pink Eyed Pedro and Moonlighter from Nick Williams’ yard complete the line-up.

Citizen all set for Haldon Gold Cup

Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase winner Global Citizen is among 16 entries for the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on Tuesday.

Last seen finishing fourth on unsuitably soft ground in the Arkle at Cheltenham, the eight-year-old is still massively unexposed over fences.

His Grade Two victory at Kempton in December could hardly have worked out any better, though – given runner-up Rouge Vif dominated a handicap under a huge weight on Saturday, the third Grand Sancy has won a Listed event at Chepstow and fourth Al Dancer beat Master Tommytucker at Newton Abbot.

“Global Citizen will go for the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter,” said trainer Ben Pauling.

“Unfortunately for him it rained on the Monday night before Cheltenham, which turned the ground soft, and he doesn’t like it.

“Exeter has been very quick at the meetings they have had so far this season, and by the looks of the forecast coming, I would say the ground will be lovely for him there.

“So he’s in good order, we’re aiming him for the Haldon and we’re looking forward to it.”

Olly Murphy’s Brewin’upastorm, Evan Williams Grade One winner Esprit Du Large and Venetia Williams’ Fanion D’Estruval, who went off favourite for the Wayward Lad, are among a classy entry.

Paul Nicholls’ Greaneteen and Capeland, Mick Channon’s Glen Forsa and the Tom George-trained Bun Doran, third in the Champion Chase, add even more strength in depth.