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Last Updated: 02/04/14 1:49pm
Western Warhorse: Surprised everyone in the Arkle
Views from connections ahead of Thursday's Pinsent Masons Manifesto Novices' Chase at Aintree, with Tom Scudamore expecting big things of Arkle hero Western Warthorse.
Shock Arkle winner Western Warhorse gets the chance to prove his Cheltenham success was no fluke when he steps up in trip for the Pinsent Masons Manifesto Novices' Chase at Aintree on Thursday.
The David Pipe-trained six-year-old headed to the Festival with just one run over fences to his name and was sent off at 33/1 in the nine-runner field. Having attempted to go with Champagne Fever through the early stages, he looked like being swallowed up coming down the hill but stuck to his task doggedly.
A place still looked like the best he could hope for jumping the last, but owner Roger Brookhouse's decision to pitch him into Grade One company was justified as Western Warhorse got up on the line for a famous victory.
He steps up to two and a half miles on Merseyside but jockey Tom Scudamore does not see that as an issue.
"As he's won a point-to-point (over three miles) I can't see two and a half miles around Aintree being an issue," said Scudamore.
"We just thought that two and a half on a flat track might suit him better as he was staying on really strongly at the end of a very strongly run two miles on an undulating track.
"The way he won was great, just getting up on the line, it all added to the drama.
"The horse proved Roger right. He wanted to run him in the Arkle more than David and he's only six, you'd like to think there's more to come."
At the other end of the scale Alan King's Uxizandre had victory snatched away from him after the last at Cheltenham. He jumped for fun at the head of affairs in the JLT Novices' Chase only to be reeled in close home by Taquin Du Seuil.
"He surpassed our expectations at Cheltenham, where he seemed to relish the new riding tactics and never missed a beat all the way round," said King on www.alankingracing.co.uk
"I thought he had it in the bag turning for home, but he just got reeled in on the run-in, and you would like to think that this track might suit him."
The Paul Nicholls-trained Dodging Bullets finished fourth in the Arkle behind Western Warhorse and Nicholls has been wanting to step him up in trip for some time.
"His run in the Arkle looked to me like he was crying out for further," said Nicholls.
"He ran really well in testing ground at Newbury when he was just caught by Module over two miles and a furlong, and I thought that day he might want a bit of a trip.
"That run certainly suggested that two and a half around here would be within his compass and that he should stay this far."
The field is completed by Nicky Henderson's Oscar Whisky, a first fence faller in the JLT at Cheltenham and Emma Lavelle's Fox Appeal, a close third in the Pendil when last seen.