Tag Archive for: Mildmay Novices Chase

Ahoy Senor and Bravemansgame all set for Aintree rematch

Ahoy Senor will bid to gallop – and jump – his rivals into submission in the Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree on Friday.

Though there are just four runners in the Grade One contest, the three-mile-one-furlong affair promises to be one of the highlights of the jumps season.

The Lucinda Russell-trained Ahoy Senor will bid to turn the tables on Bravemansgame and L’Homme Presse, having suffered defeat at the hands of each in his last two outings.

Peter Scudamore, Russell’s partner and assistant, acknowledges the seven-year-old will need to be at the top of his game to overturn the form that saw him beaten seven and a half lengths by Bravemansgame at Kempton on Boxing Day, and three and a half lengths by L’Homme Presse at Cheltenham

“The other two are great jumpers, ours is a great galloper, but it is a jumping race and we have to get our jumping together,” said Scudamore.

“You have to be concerned. The better they are the more you worry about them.

“We are just beginning to get these better horses and it is more of a worry. You don’t have the good horses that Paul (Nicholls) and Gordon (Elliott) have got and it is anxious times, only because you care about them.”

Ahoy Senor got the better of Bravemansgame in the Grade One Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at this meeting 12 months ago and showed he was a force to be reckoned with over fences when when taking the Grade Two John Francome Novices’ Chase at Newbury in November.

Though he lost his unbeaten record at Kempton, he bounced back with an impressive win the Towton at Wetherby before L’Homme Presse had his measure in testing ground at Cheltenham.

Scudamore is delighted the trio will meet for the first time and added: “It is what racing is all about – the best taking on the best.

“We have probably the three best three-mile novice chasers in the country and it is fantastic for Aintree.

“I never thought the race would quite cut up like that, but we have been lucky.

“I just hope they all come back safe and sound. As long as it is safe ground, we should all be happy.

“We have to accept now and again we get beat. We are not Flat racing. National Hunt racing is a sport and while that sounds a bit blase, I am definitely nervous in the hope he comes back OK.

“He seems well after Cheltenham and all the rest of it. We’d love to see that these horses will go on and be the future, so let’s hope they get there.”

Paul Nicholls hopes Bravemansgame's freshness will help
Paul Nicholls hopes Bravemansgame’s freshness will help (Ben Birchall/PA)

Bravemansgame is seeking to retain his unbeaten record over fences after swerving a clash with the pair at Cheltenham.

Nicholls was less than thrilled after Cheltenham officials watered the ground, only to see the heavens open on day two, eventually turning conditions heavy.

Chasing a 13th trainers’ title, the Ditcheat handler feels he has the advantage of a fresh horse following his cosy success at Newbury, conceding upwards of 16lb in landing a Limited Handicap in February.

“He hasn’t put a foot wrong all season, is unbeaten in four starts, has plenty of speed and his jumping has been mustard from day one,” Nicholls reported on his Betfair blog.

“Heavy ground put paid to our plans to take him to Cheltenham. I felt he had a big chance there but when conditions went against him it made sense to keep him for Aintree.

“It’s a bonus that Bravemansgame is fresh going to Aintree, a track that should play to his strengths, while two of his opponents had hard races at Cheltenham. I like to think he has a great chance.”

L’Homme Presse (left) got the better of Ahoy Senor at Cheltenham
L’Homme Presse (left) got the better of Ahoy Senor at Cheltenham (Mike Egerton/PA)

Connections of the bold-jumping L’Homme Presse have declared to run, but trainer Venetia Williams will make a final decision on Friday morning in the hope that conditions are soft enough for the dual Grade One winner.

“We want to run in what will be a marvellous race,” said co-owner Andy Edwards.

“However, if there is not enough juice in the ground when we get there on Friday, we won’t run.

“The ground must be safe for him, but fingers crossed the rain comes.”

Fury Road, who was well supported for the Stayers’ Hurdle last season, has also made a bright start to his chasing career.

Elliott’s eight-year-old, who won the Grade One Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, completes the high-class quartet.

L’Homme Presse not ruled out of Aintree action

L’Homme Presse needs plenty to go his way if he is to line up in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree on Friday, according to connections.

The Venetia Williams-trained seven-year-old produced one of the finest displays of jumping ever witnessed at Cheltenham when landing the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase in deep ground last month.

Co-owner Andy Edwards, who bought the horse from France, is not ruling out the possibility of running the spectacular jumper in the three-mile-one-furlong Mildmay Novices’ Chase.

Edwards said: “We are leaving the door ajar, because he is very well. I saw him yesterday and he is very well in himself and if he goes anywhere, it will be Aintree next week.

“The door is ajar, it is not wide open. There will have to be a lot of ‘ifs’ that come into play for him to actually run.

“It has got to rain – we need plenty of liquid sunshine – and the entries would have to cut up a little bit, so we will have a look and take a view.

“The trouble is, the Mildmay is a very tight track and it is not a big, galloping track. It would not be perfectly ideal, so the ground would have to be very ideal for him to go there.

“He is very bright-eyed, he was standing very tall and proud, as he should be, so everything is good.

“It is funny how suddenly they know how good they are.”

Andy Edwards
Andy Edwards says L’Homme Presse is lapping up the limelight (Andy Edwards/PA)

Edwards will likely still have a runner in a Grade One contest at the Liverpool track next week, however.

He revealed: “Fingers crossed, Fautinette will be running in the Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle on Thursday.

“She ran three times in France for me last year as a four-year-old and she is with Venetia as well.

“The entry has gone in. It is her first time out since running last May and she is in a Grade One, so it will be very difficult for her. But she is very well and she deserves her chance.”