Saturday, 14 October 2017

Twiston-Davies expecting classy hurdler Wholestone to shine in Silver Trophy

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Nigel Twiston-Davies' Wholestone has plenty of options available, as the former Cheltenham Festival third takes on handicappers in Chepstow’s Totepool Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle (4:10).

The six-year-old landed two Grade Two prizes last season as a novice, and capped off a good campaign with a place in the Albert Bartlett behind Penhill and Monalee.

He is on a good mark to take on some of the big handicap prizes just like Twiston-Davies’ winner in the race last season, Ballyoptic. But Wholestone also has  the option of going novice chasing.

"He was one of the top novices of last season and I think he’s been fairly weighted at 145,” said the Gloucestershire-based trainer to the Racing Post.

"I’m quite looking forward to it. He’s a good horse.

“After the Albert Bartlett we thought he had done enough for the season.

"We won this race with Ballyoptic last season, and we’ll try to do the same and then go onto the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby.

"We’ll be looking at long-distance trips, but if he didn’t win we might go chasing.”

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Former Gigginstown jockey Bryan Cooper takes the ride for Ann and Alan Potts' Alary at Chepstow

Alary makes his first start over hurdles in the UK for Colin Tizzard.

Since joining Tizzard’s Milborne Port setup, he’s been a tad disappointing when failing to finish on two starts at Haydock and Exeter.

He capped off last season with a sixth place finish in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham, and he hopes to break his hurdles duck on the eighth attempt.

“His last run in the Ryanair was actually a very good run,” said the Dorset-based trainer.

“He didn’t look himself last year but over the summer he has improved a lot and he looks fantastic now!

“We’ve had horses in the past who have lost their way a little so we try running them over hurdles.

“It’s important to see how he gets on, on his chase mark he is very well handicapped and he’s in great form.”

“I don’t know where we are with him, but we will let the horse do the talking!”

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Former Grade One juvenile winner Le Rocher joins a number of top hurdlers at Chepstow this afternoon

Sam Spinner looked an exciting hurdler in the making when winning three races from four last season for Jedd O’Keeffe.

JP McManus is represented by Drumcliff and River Frost. The latter won well in a handicap at Kempton back in February before finishing ninth in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham.
Drumcliff was last seen being brought down at Punchestown five months ago for Harry Fry.

Away from the iconic green and yellow colours, Fry also saddles Bags Groove. The six-year-old won twice as a novice hurdler last season including a six length success at Taunton on his last start.

Paul Nicholls’ Peak To Peak and Peter Bowen’s Souriyan come here on the back of a two-timer, whilst Dan Skelton’s Whatduhavtoget is the only mare in the field. She may be more suited to races against her own sex.

Court Minstrel won this race back in 2015, but has a bit to prove following his most recent fourth place finish at Stratford last month.

Wishing And Hoping runs for Alan King, as Tom George is represented by Sumkindofking.
Le Rocher, Old Guard and Louis’ Vac Pouch all make their seasonal bow, whilst Milrow, Doesyourdogbite, Three Musketeers also feature.

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