Tag Archive for: Lightning Novices’ Chase

Gordon favouring Betfair Hurdle for Aucunrisque

Chris Gordon is poised to aim versatile Aucunrisque at Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle in a fortnight’s time and has all but ruled him out of a tilt over fences on Saturday.

The seven-year-old has won four of six races over hurdles, but has been campaigned in chases so far this term.

Having won on his fencing bow at Uttoxeter, he was runner-up to Frere D’Armes in the Fulke Walwyn Trophy at Newbury and was then beaten a length by Boothill in the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton over Christmas.

Though he holds an entry in the MND Association Race For Research Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster on Saturday, the Hampshire-based handler would sooner run him over hurdles before reverting to fences at the Cheltenham Festival.

“I’m very keen to run him in the Betfair,” said Gordon. “He’s also in the Grade Two on Saturday and if it breaks up, we might go for that, but I just think that he’s on a mark of 145, which is high enough for him over fences anyway.

“If he went and ran a blinder on Saturday, he could potentially go up 1lb or more.

“We’d like to go for the Grand Annual with him, but there we are on a mark of 138 for the Betfair, which makes a bit more sense, to go and have a run there.

“If we got lucky, it probably won’t affect our chase mark, so that’s the way I’d like to go, really.

“He’s in great form and we’re really pleased with him. Him and Highway One O Two, the plan is that both of those will go for the Betfair.”

Gordon has had a relatively quiet spell after a storming start to the season and is keen to get the ball rolling again.

“We’ve had it quiet in December, because we had a bit of a sniffle and we’ve been very quiet through January because we had to give them a flu jab,” he said.

“I had to back off them a fair bit and we are just about to get going.”

Gordon eyeing Lightning strike for Aucunrisque

Connections of Aucunrisque are pondering options which include the Watch Off The Fence On attheraces.com Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster later this month.

The Chris Gordon-trained seven-year-old showed plenty of promise over hurdles, winning four and finishing second from six starts.

That early promise has translated to fences with a win and two runner-up efforts from three starts, the latest when going down by a length to Boothill in the Wayward Lad at Kempton over Christmas.

The Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick next month is another possible destination, although the Hampshire-based handler could head straight to the Cheltenham Festival with the Goodwin Racing-owned gelding.

“Much will depend on the way the weather goes,” said Gordon. “I love the name of the Kingmaker but if I had to go for one of those sorts of races, it would be the Donny race, the Lightning.”

He added: “They have all had their flu jabs now and I could be quiet in January.

“I just thought that Donny race (on January 28) might be a nice race for him, but if we don’t go there, we might well head towards the Grand Annual.

“We could go straight there – the owner would be quite keen on a day out at Cheltenham. We haven’t really discussed it, but he is a pretty laid back guy and lets me get on with life.

“If he comes back from the flu jab grand, we’ll probably go to Donny and if not, we’ll go straight to the Grand Annual.”

The yard has not had much luck over the festive period, with just one winner from the last 30 runners, although Blame The Game only just failed by a neck to justify favouritism in the Sussex National Handicap Chase at Plumpton on Monday and had to be content with playing second fiddle to Atakan.

“That was a little bit painful,” said Gordon. “I thought Aucunrisque would nick the Wayward Lad coming off the bend and I thought we’d won the Sussex National, but I keep getting it wrong.

“Blame The Game has taken it well, though. He had a tough old race, but I have been very proud of him the way he has conducted himself this season.

“I haven’t got any long-term plans – as the Sussex National was the plan. We will regroup in February and then hopefully come up with a lot more plans then.”