Racing Plus Chase possible swansong for twice-winner Nacarat
Last Updated: February 23, 2013 12:34pm
Nacarat: Could be set for his final race at Kempton
Tom George has revealed there is "every chance" Nacarat will be running the last race of his career as he aims to win a third renewal of the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton on Saturday.
George, who trains the 12-year-old grey, feels the valuable Grade Three handicap could be the perfect stage for him to end his career.
Nacarat has been a standing dish around Kempton, winning this race in 2009 and again 12 months ago, as well as being placed the two years in between.
Although he has shown little in two races this season, George hopes a return to his favourite course will turn around Nacarat's fortunes.
"He's in good old form, is working well and loves the track," said the Slad handler.
"His work has been good at home and we'll see whether the fire is still burning back on the track.
"His two races this season haven't really been his thing and this race is the one we've really been aiming for since the start of the season.
"It might well be his last race. We won't shut the door completely but he can't keep going forever and owes nobody anything, so there is every chance it will be his last run.
"We know he loves Kempton and the ground should be fine."
The progressive Rolling Aces, winner of the last two of just three races over fences, spearheads a two-pronged attack from the Paul Nicholls stable along with Grand National hope What A Friend, who is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson.
"The record of Rolling Aces speaks for itself. He's won his last two and hopefully he will keep progressing," said the Ditcheat trainer.
"He's gone up 11lb and is quite high (in the handicap) for a novice. I think 149 for a horse having only his fourth run over fences is quite high, but we'll see.
"What A Friend is being aimed for the Grand National and he will improve for the run.
"Both horses are in good form."
Nicky Henderson is also double-handed with Roberto Goldback and Quantitativeeasing.
"Roberto Goldback has been waiting for some decent ground, as he won well on good to soft at Ascot at the start of the season and hasn't had it since. If all goes well, he heads for the Grand National," said the Seven Barrows trainer.
"The ground should suit Quantitativeeasing but I need to see more from him than he has shown so far this season."
Philip Hobbs is another trainer with two chances in the shape of 2011 winner Quinz and Duke Of Lucca.
"Quinz is in very good form indeed at the moment and we're looking forward to running him," said the Minehead trainer.
"His preparation has gone very well and this race has been the plan for a while.
"I couldn't be happier with him at home and I'm optimistic he's going to run a very good race.
"Duke Of Lucca has been ready to run for a while but we've been waiting on the better ground with him.
"He has a nice racing weight and I'd hope he has a good each-way chance as well."
The talking horse of the race has been David Bridgwater's Wyck Hill, who was bought only this week by leading owner JP McManus and as a result will be partnered by Tony McCoy.
"He's off a light weight (10st 7lb) and would have to have a favourite's chance," said Bridgwater.
"He's a very short price, it's amazing really considering it's a 100 grand race, but he doesn't know what price he is.
"Silly things happen in these races, but I think he was born to be a Grand National horse."
Harry Fry is hoping Opening Batsman is still one step ahead of the handicapper.
Victories at Plumpton and Wincanton sandwich a good run in defeat behind Rolling Aces.
"He's taken time to fill his frame and it's only this year over fences that we've really seen the best of him," said Fry.
"He's done everything right so far. We were second to Rolling Aces at Wincanton, beaten 11 lengths off level weights - it's better ground on Saturday and we're in receipt of 9lb.
"Three weeks later we went back to Wincanton and won nicely so he's very progressive.
Nigel Twiston-Davies sent out Razor Royale to deny Nacarat in 2010 and the Taunton trainer runs Same Difference this time.
The trainer's son and jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies, said: "He's in good form and I think he's a horse who is a lot better going right-handed than left-handed.
"He's got a nice weight with 10st 2lb and hopefully he goes there with a good chance."