Graeme McPherson’s ‘very exciting novice chaser’ Ami Desbois begins his journey back to the Cheltenham Festival in Wetherby’s Colin Baldwin 86th Birthday Novices' Chase (1:05).
The seven-year-old won twice as a hurdler last season, including at this track in February. He finished a very creditable fifth in the Albert Bartlett but has always been regarded as the type to improve when going over fences.
“He was fifth in the Albert Bartlett last year and won four times over hurdles,” said Gloucestershire-based McPherson.
“I think last year Cheltenham came a little too quick, but he ran brilliantly and the ground would’ve been quick enough for him.
“He seems like a very exciting novice chaser to have in the yard probably to race around three miles on soft ground.
“He could be an RSA horse and that’s the plan for him, certainly.”
“He should be much better over fences than hurdles. We are really looking forward to running him this season.”
Most of his racing has been around two-and-a-half to three miles but he steps back to the minimum distance this afternoon.
He is currently valued at 33-1 for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Ami Desbois’ main danger is Dan Skelton’s Whatduhavtoget, who was last seen finishing unplaced in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow.
She makes her chasing debut this afternoon, but according to ratings is 15lb worse off than Graeme McPherson’s star.
“I’ve been waiting to go chasing with Whatduhavetoget,” Skelton told his Ladbrokes blog.
“She ran a real funny race at Chepstow first time out.We fancied her in the Silver Trophy but she just never got going. A few of ours were running a bit moderately at the time, although I’m not using that as an excuse.”
“I think fences, with a seven pound allowance, makes her very competitive.”
Cousin Oscar, Valgor Du Ronceray, Mortens Leam and Rapid Fitz also take their chance in Yorkshire.