Tag Archive for: Old Roan

Nuts Well primed for Roan run

Owner Ian Hamilton expects Nuts Well to put up a staunch defence of his crown in the Jewson Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase at Aintree on Sunday.

The 10-year-old secured the biggest victory of his career to date when landing the Grade Two limited handicap 12 months ago.

Just as he did last season, Nuts Well warmed up for his trip to Merseyside with a handicap success at Kelso and connections are confident he remains at the top of his game, despite his advancing years.

Hamilton, whose wife Ann is the trainer, said: “We think he’s as good as he’s been, so we’re looking forward to it.

“We think he’s on top form. He did it easily at Kelso, but this is a bit hotter I think.

“I think he’s getting better with age – I’m getting worse with age, but he’s getting better!”

The Olly Murphy-trained Itchy Feet finished third when favourite for last year’s Old Roan and is fitted with cheek pieces for his second attempt.

Itchy Feet winning at Sandown
Itchy Feet winning at Sandown (Steven Paston/PA)

“He’s going into the race a fresh horse and he usually runs well fresh,” said Murphy.

“His jumping has been a lot better, so hopefully he can translate that to the track.

“Hopefully the cheek pieces help him going forward – he’s schooled well in them this week.

“It’s a competitive renewal, but the prize-money is very good and he’s got a good each-way chance if he puts in a good round of jumping.”

Allmankind was one of last season’s leading novice chasers and trainer Dan Skelton hopes a recent spin over hurdles at Chepstow has left him cherry-ripe for his latest big-race assignment.

He said: “I was surprised last year when he got beaten first time out in a four-year-old hurdle at Cheltenham. His form before that and his form after that suggests he should have won, but he needed it badly.

“With that in mind, we wanted to get a run into him before coming here. If he hadn’t gone to Chepstow he’d have no hope hope whatsoever of winning this – it was so important to get that run in.

“He’s been grand since and loves jumping fences. This has been the plan and I’m happy with everything.”

Paul Nicholls, who has previously won the Old Roan with the great Kauto Star (2006), Sound Investment (2015) and Frodon (2018), is this year represented by Tamaroc Du Mathan.

Killer Clown (Emma Lavelle), Fanion D’Estruval (Venetia Williams), Huntsman Son (Alex Hales) and Midnight Shadow (Sue Smith) complete the field.

Itchy Feet on course for Old Roan

Olly Murphy’s Itchy Feet will try to better his 2020 third-placed finish in the Grade Two Monet’s Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree.

The seven-year-old was two and a half lengths behind the winner Nuts Well 12 months ago and went on to be placed in further Graded contests through the rest of the campaign.

Last seen finishing third again in the Grade One Marsh Chase in April, Itchy Feet will return to Aintree on Sunday to make his seasonal debut on the Mildmay course.

“The plan is to go for the Old Roan with Itchy Feet. He is in good form,” said Murphy.

“He had a very good run at Aintree at the back end of last season.

“He will be going up in trip before long – but he ran well in the Old Roan last year, so it makes sense to start him off there again.

“I see him being aimed at all the good two-and-a-half-mile to three-mile chases this season if he keeps on progressing over fences – which I can’t see why he won’t.”

Multiple champion trainer Paul Nicholls has won the Old Roan three times and may bid to do so again with Tamaroc Du Mathan, winner of the Grade Two Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton in February.

“He won the Pendil Novices’ Chase very nicely last season and then went to Ayr,” said Nicholls.

“I thought he would go OK, but all mine there ran terribly.

“He is a very nice horse that loves a flat track. He likes to be fresh, and I might look at the Old Roan with him at Aintree because that would suit him well.

“He is not the biggest and might be on the limit of his mark, but we will see.”

Nuts Well is due to defend his title for Ann Hamilton, with Grade One winner Allmankind also entered for Dan Skelton alongside stablemate Bennys King.

Nicky Henderson has both Fusil Raffles and Pistol Whipped in the reckoning, with Evan Williams on course to run Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Coole Cody.

Ewan Whillans has put forward Cracking Destiny, with Venetia Williams represented by Fanion d’Estruval at this stage and Alex Hales supplying Huntsman Son.

Killer Clown holds an entry for Emma Lavelle – with Sue Smith’s Midnight Shadow, Colin Tizzard’s Reserve Tank, Henry Oliver’s The Big Bite and Brian Ellison’s Windsor Avenue completing 16 possibles.