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Al Ferof could bypass the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury

Last Updated: 03/02/14 4:05pm

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Al Ferof: Needs his ground

Al Ferof: Needs his ground

Sky Bet

Paul Nicholls has warned Al Ferof could bypass the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury on Saturday if the ground is too testing.

Should he miss the Grade Two over three miles, the grey would go straight for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup or possibly the Ryanair Chase.

"I'd like to see decent ground for him and I suspect if it's testing he will end up waiting for Cheltenham," said Nicholls.

"John (Hales, owner) is mad keen to go for the Gold Cup, but he has a Ryanair entry and if it stays very soft that's an option."

The Ditcheat handler also has Tidal Bay among 10 entries for the Denman, named after Nicholls' 2008 Gold Cup hero.

The 13-year-old has an alternative engagement in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Sunday.

"I have confirmed him for the Hennessy but I told Graham (Wylie, owner) I'd enter him for the Denman as it's easier than him going over to Leopardstown," said Nicholls.

"I've not made my mind up, we'll see how the week pans out. If it's testing he could run at Newbury but he could still go to Ireland."

Triolo D'Alene, winner of the Hennessy on this track, could return to the Berkshire venue. The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old is ante-post favourite for the Crabbie's Grand National.

Kim Bailey is considering running Harry Topper following his third in the Argento Chase, while Highland Lodge, Katenko, Menorah, Third Intention, Vino Griego and Walkon make up the Denman 10.

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