Paul Nicholls is expecting Alcala to finish his novice career off with a victory as the prolific summer scorer heads the market in the Royal Gloucesteshire Hussar Novice Chase (4:20).
The progressive seven-year-old won five races in a row in the summer, including the season’s huge prize, Market Rasen’s Summer Plate.
His most recent assignment was expected to be the hardest when taking on the exceptional Finian’s Oscar, but an unfortunate slip up handed a victory to Colin Tizzard’s Festival-bound star.
He will no longer be a novice at the end of the month, and Nicholls is planning on getting one more prize.
“He was so unlucky at Chepstow last time when he was seeking to win his sixth chase on the bounce,” Nicholls told his Betfair blog.
“He was bowling along in the lead, jumping for fun and was full of running until he slipped and came down on the final bend.
“Finian's Oscar was left to pick up the pieces but he was some way behind when it happened and I felt he would have needed to sprout wings to catch Alcala.
Alcala and @samtwiston win the @MarketRasenRace Summer Plate for the @pfnicholls team from Wadswick Court. Results >https://t.co/stAWMjtPDp pic.twitter.com/raqxmju9jQ— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) 22 July 2017
“I was pleased and relieved to find that Alcala was fine afterwards and he continues to please at home.
“As he is only a novice until the end of this month it makes sense to let him take his chance in this valuable race where he is well treated by the conditions.
“He should have a big chance.”
Dan Skelton’s Two Taffs was an encouraging listed winner on his final run of the season at Ayr, where he defeated some good chasers in Scotland.
Nicky Henderson’s Cultivator, who finished eighth in Grade One novice hurdling company on his last start, makes his chasing debut.
Recent Uttoxeter winner Midnight Shot hopes to build on his encouraging win in the Midlands for Charlie Longsdon.
Tintern Theatre represents Nigel Twiston-Davies, whilst Jamie Snowden’s Double Treasure is seeking a hat-trick following his wins at Newton Abbot and Worcester.