Broadway Boy is out to confirm his position as one of this season’s leading novice chasers in Warwick’s Trustatrader Hampton Novices’ Chase on Saturday.
Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, the six-year-old has excelled over fences so far this term, where ambitious campaigning has seen him win three of his first four starts over the larger obstacles.
Since his sole defeat at the hands of Flooring Porter, Broadway Boy has twice dazzled at Cheltenham – firstly when winning a Listed event by an emphatic 20 lengths and then returning in December to outgun a cast of seasoned performers which included former Gold Cup third Protektorat.
He now takes the next step on his novice chasing journey, with Willy Twiston Davies – who bought the horse for owner David Proos and rides him out most days – confident the talented gelding is the one the others have to beat.
He said: “He’s been very, very good so far and obviously it’s not Cheltenham, which is his preferred track, but he jumps very well left-handed and it’s a good jumping test for him, the ground is fine and we know he stays well, so you would hope he will be bang there.
“Looking at the race, you would like to think the others have him to worry about and they have to step up to his level, so we go there quietly confident.
“We will learn a bit more on Saturday and both Grey Dawning and Apple Away are not bad horses, but hopefully if he beats them, it cements him as one of Britain’s top staying novices.”
Dan Skelton claimed the Grade Two contest with Galia Des Liteaux 12 months ago and will attempt to repeat the dose with Grey Dawning, who scored on the card over timber in 2023.
Grey Dawning has made a respectable start to his chasing career, impressing at Haydock on his penultimate start before rallying following a juddering error two from home at Cheltenham last time to be denied by just under a length.
Some 14 lengths adrift of the Skelton contender at Haydock was Lucinda Russell’s Apple Away, who had to settle for third place on that baptism of fire in the chasing ranks.
However, the Grade One-winning hurdler put the experience gained to good use when romping home at Leicester next time and, having delighted connections with her jumping in the East Midlands, is now set another stern challenge which could dictate which path she takes later this season.
“I wish we could find an easier race, but this is where she is at and this is what we do,” said Peter Scudamore, Russell’s partner and assistant
“I think Nigel and Dan’s horses are very good horses but she jumped very well at Leicester and she won a Grade One at Aintree (over hurdles), so she deserves her chance.
“I was pleased by the way she jumped (at Leicester) and we gave her quite a big ask first time over fences at Haydock. But she learnt from that and got it together at Leicester and really jumped well. She has toughened up and is on the upgrade and let’s hope she puts up a good performance round Warwick.
“We would love to go to Cheltenham with her and we just need to decide if she runs in the mares’ race, a handicap or the Brown Advisory.”
Joe Tizzard’s The Changing Man split Cheltenham Festival winner Stay Away Fay and Grey Dawning when they clashed at Exeter and is entitled to his place in this line-up, while Evan Williams’ Carbon King completes the five-strong field, having made a winning chasing debut at Ffos Las last month.
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