JPR One could have been found the perfect opportunity to showcase his class over the larger obstacles in the SSS Super Alloys Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.
The six-year-old has always been held in high regard by trainer Joe Tizzard and the team at Venn Farm, but injury has hindered his progress and delayed the start of his chasing career by a season.
A winner of four of his eight starts, JPR One now takes the next step up the fencing ladder after a successful debut in his new discipline at Newton Abbot last month.
“He was impressive the last day and this is obviously a step up, but I was quite keen to keep him at two miles as he showed plenty of pace and jumped well at Newton Abbot,” said Tizzard.
“Soft ground over two miles should be ideal for him. He had a school on Wednesday morning and schooled lovely and this is the next step.
“He got an injury last autumn which held us up and stopped us going novice chasing and he’s only a six-year-old now, so it might have been a blessing in disguise.
“He bounced back and won at Taunton and then went to Aintree. He’s a strong horse now who has always jumped well. I’m excited about him.”
Champion Chase winner Put The Kettle On (2019) and Joseph O’Brien’s Banbridge 12 months ago have both taken this prize back to Ireland in recent years and looking to join them on the roll of honour is Cian Collins’ Mighty Tom.
The eight-year-old had to settle for second behind Gavin Cromwell’s Letsbeclearaboutit in a Cork Grade Three on his chasing debut and brings some smart hurdling form to the table.
“He probably bumped into a Grade One horse at Cork last time and the drop back to two miles will suit him on Friday,” said Collins.
“The ground will be nicer on Friday which will be to his liking, it is just the 12 days since his last start that is the biggest worry. But I’m happy with him and hopefully he will handle it.”
There are only four going to post for the Grade Two contest with Jonjo O’Neill’s Petit Tonnerre and Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero’s Homme Public completing the quartet.
The latter took on an experienced cast when making a successful first start over the larger obstacles on good ground at Wetherby and his training team are hoping for similar conditions at Prestbury Park.
“He definitely seemed to improve for fences (at Wetherby), he just wouldn’t want it too soft,” said Greenall.
“He’ll take his chance and I would say he enjoyed the ground at Wetherby as well. It should be ideal for him.”