Calgary Bay tops Sky Bet Chase weights but Champion Court favourite
Last Updated: 16/01/13 12:59pm
Calgary Bay: Heads the weights for the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster
Last year's winner Calgary Bay jointly heads the weights for the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on 11st 12lb.
He is joined at the top of the handicap by Midnight Chase, Champion Court and the rapidly improving Bold Sir Brian.
Venetia Williams has three of the 59 entries and they include the progressive Katenko (11st 4lb) and leading fancy Quartz De Thaix (11st 10lb).
Ikorodu Road (10st 9lb) won the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster in March and Matt Shephard is hoping his charge can reverse recent track form with Court By Surprise (10st 2lb) who is set to reoppose again.
The trainer said: "There is a good chance Ikorodu Road will run in the Sky Bet Chase. He will also have an entry in a veterans' chase at Exeter just before but he needs good or good to soft ground and I can't see it being like that at Exeter.
"Ideally, he wants a couple of furlongs further than three miles but he has been in excellent form since his run at Doncaster. We have been praying for some better ground and hoped to run him in the Classic Chase at Warwick (last Saturday) but the ground was too soft.
"He definitely has another big race in him. He wants three and a half miles but we haven't been able to put it all together and, longer term, I would imagine he will go for the Grimthorpe again.
"When he broke the track record at Newbury last season, the ground must have been quite quick and when he went to Ayr he must have been jarred up but you don't know that until you run them - we could look at the Scottish Grand National again."
Cape Tribulation has been allotted 11st 8lb after getting his chasing career back on track with an eye-catching 11-length success in the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby over Christmas, while impressive last time out scorers Wyck Hill and Mister Hyde have been handed 10st 11lb and 10st 10lb respectively.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is responsible for six entries headed by Pacha Du Polder (11st 4lb), who chased home Bold Sir Brian in an intermediate chase at Sandown on December 7, and improving novice chaser Rolling Aces (11st 2lb).
Paddy Power Gold Cup runner-up Walkon (11st 5lb) is one of three possibles for trainer Alan King, having filled the same position behind Unioniste in the Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup back at Cheltenham in December. King is also responsible for lightly-raced 10-year-old Hold On Julio (11st 3lb) and 2011 Becher Chase scorer West End Rocker (10st 10lb).
Other notable contenders include last year's third Fruity O'Rooney (10st 10lb),Carruthers (11st 4lb) and Red Rocco (10st 2lb), who is one of three entries for trainer Donald McCain.
Michael Shinners, Racing PR Manager for Sky Bet, said: "Fruity O'Rooney was popular among punters when we opened the market last week. Jamie Moore's expression said it all when the horse finished third last year after the saddle slipped - he clearly thought he should have won. He is a consistent performer and has been set some hard tasks this season so punters must think he still has a big race in him."
Sky Bet Chase: Sponsors bet: 9/1 Champion Court; 10/1 Wyck Hill; 12/1 Katenko, Rolling Aces, Court By Surprise, Cape Tribulation, Mister Hyde; 14/1 The Knoxs, Red Rocco, Bold Sir Brian, Quartz de Thaix, Walkon, Hold On Julio; 16/1 Pacha du Polder, Harry The Viking, Fruity O'Rooney; 20/1 Ikorodu Road, Duke of Lucca, Calgary Bay, Saint Are, Cedre Bleu, Summery Justice, Nadiya de La Vega, Pentiffic; 25/1 Golden Chieftain, Carruthers, Chartreux, Galaxy Rock, Shoegazer, Hunters Lodge, Qianshan Leader; 28/1 Alvarado, Corkage, Lively Baron, Cappa Bleu; 33/1 Quentin Collonges, Midnight Chase, Captain Americo, Ballabriggs, Sizing Santiago, Tullamore Dew, Mr Moonshine, Prophete de Guye, West End Rocker, Do It For Dalkey; 40/1 Silver By Nature, Hector's Choice, Auroras Encore, Always Right, Tatenen, Baile Anrai, Beneficial Reform, De Boitron; 50/1 Matuhi, Cootehill, Gullible Gordon, Billie Magern, Riguez Dancer; 100/1 Merigo