Dartnall maps out seasonal starts for his yard's best prospects
Jump racing aficionados are rubbing their hands in glee, as the season starts to get going again and trainer Victor Dartnall reveals his plans for some of his leading contenders in the months ahead.
The prolific Ambion Wood has a lofty reputation and the Devon trainer will be relieved to get his first start over fences out of the way.
"We'll start off in a novices' or beginners' chase at the end of October, subject to the ground," he said.
"All being well, he will then be aimed at some of the top three-mile novice chases, but we need to get him started first. Maybe we will thing about the Worcester Novices' Chase at Newbury."
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The six-year-old was a winner of the EDF Future Champions Novices' hurdle at Perth in April and the EBF National Hunt Final at Sandown in March off top weight. Those performances have earned him a quote of 25-1 for the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Multiple bumper winner Mic's Delight took well to chasing in the spring, winning two novice chases at Market Rasen and he will start at Wincanton on November 10 in a long-distance chase.
Requin appears to have turned the corner this season and is sparkling form at home. His immediate target is a handicap chase at Stratford at the end of October with further plans depending upon the outcome of that race, but possibly a handicap chase at Newbury at the Hennessy meeting.
The high-profile Exmoor Ranger, who gave the yard one of its biggest wins when he landed the United House gold Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot a year ago, heads to Cheltenham's Showcase meeting today, when he is due to line up in the £50,000 Ryman The Stationer Handicap Chase (3.40pm) over three miles.
The talented ten-year-old battled gamely to win a Grade Three handicap chase at Ascot just under a year ago and finished third behind subsequent John Smith's Grand National runner-up Sunnyhillboy in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase at The Festival in March.
He returned to Cheltenham for a handicap chase at the April Meeting, when he was travelling well before falling four fences from home.
Dartnall revealed: "Exmoor Ranger will be entered in the Ryman The Stationer Handicap Chase and he is good form at the moment.
"He goes well fresh and good, good to soft ground suits him well. He actually broke the course record on his seasonal return at Ascot last year.
"Where we run Ace High very much depends upon the ground as he needs it soft. If all goes well we'll be looking at the Hennessy at Newbury."
The top staying handicap chaser Giles Cross will run at Wincanton on November 10 or Haydock on November 24. "His main aim is the Welsh National at Chepstow on December 27," said Dartnall.
A decent set of novices are set to make their debuts over hurdles with Regal Presence likely to begin his campaign at Exeter next Tuesday, the same day on which Dartnall expects to run Silver Commander in an amateur riders' novices' hurdle. Three Old Amigos, considered a good novice prospects, will start at Exeter in November in a two miles five furlongs novices hurdle.