Thursday, January 17, 2019 - The 2017 Randox Health Grand National hero One For Arthur takes on 11 rivals in the £75,000 G2 Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (3.15pm), one of the highlights at Haydock Park this Saturday, January 19.
The extended three-mile, one-furlong contest has gone the way of top-class chasers Our Vic (2010) and Bristol De Mai (2017) in recent years, with the latter subsequently gaining back-to-back renewals of the G1 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park.
Injury has restricted One For Arthur (Lucinda Russell/Derek Fox, 11st 4lb), owned by the Two Golf Widows, to just one start since his famous Aintree triumph in April, 2017.
On his comeback, the 10-year-old Scottish-trained chaser got no further than the third fence when unseating Tom Scudamore in the G2 Betway Many Clouds Chase over the Mildmay Course at Aintree on December 8.
One For Arthur wins the 2017 Randox Health Grand National at Aintree
Saturday's top-weight Valtor (Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob, 11st 10lb), previously trained in France by Eric Leray, triumphed by eight lengths on his UK debut in the Listed Silver Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot on December 22.
The 10-year-old, who finished sixth in the G1 Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris in May, was purchased by leading owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede with the 2019 Randox Health Grand National (Aintree, Saturday, April 6) in mind.
His trainer, Lambourn-based Nicky Henderson, reported: "Valtor was very impressive at Ascot and jumped very well.
"He was at the bottom of the handicap at Ascot and will now have to carry top-weight in the Peter Marsh Chase.
"He was a horse we were looking at the Grand National with. He was well handicapped, but we threw him in first time out at Ascot and he has gone up 12lb!
"He had not won a race for over two years in France before he won at Ascot."
Our Vic's trainer David Pipe is represented by Daklondike (Tom Scudamore, 10st 9lb), who has won on three of his last five starts.
The seven-year-old rallied to beat Ballyarthur (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Jamie Bargary, 10st 4lb) by a length in the Smarkets Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase at Haydock Park on December 22, his most recent outing.
Pipe, whose stables are on the Devon/Somerset border, said: "Daklondike runs in the Peter Marsh Chase.
"He disappointed at Cheltenham in November [when pulled up in a G3 handicap chase in November], but battled well last time to beat Ballyarthur close home. The visor that day helped him as did the soft ground.
"He prefers soft to heavy ground and hopefully they have had some rain at Haydock as staying chases in that type of ground will suit him on Saturday and during the rest of the season."
Captain Redbeard (Stuart Coltherd/Sam Coltherd (5), 10st 8lb) has never finished outside of the first three in five attempts at Haydock Park, including when second behind The Dutchman in last year's Peter Marsh Handicap Chase.
Lightly-raced 10-year-old Robinsfirth (Colin Tizzard/Richard Johnson, 10st 10lb) is out to defy a 400-day absence.
He has not raced since capturing a G3 handicap chase at Cheltenham in December, 2017, on what was just his 11th career start.
Ballydine (Charlie Longsdon/James Bowen, 10st 4lb) is another with not many miles on the clock and the nine-year-old was last seen out when going down narrowly in the Mandarin Handicap Chase at Newbury on December 29. He will wear a tongue tie and cheekpieces for the first time on Saturday.
Wakanda (Sue Smith/Danny Cook, 10st 10lb), a G2-winning novice at Haydock Park in 2015, has since landed four Listed handicap chases, the most recent being the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster nearly a year ago.
Course scorer Red Infantry (Ian Williams/Tom O'Brien, 10st 6lb) drops down in trip after finishing second in the London National Handicap Chase at Sandown Park on December 8.
The Peter Marsh Handicap Chase line-up is completed by Otago Trail (Venetia Williams/Hugh Nugent (7), 11st 3lb), third in the Listed Rehearsal Handicap Chase on his penultimate start, Chase The Spud (Fergal O'Brien/Adam Wedge, 10st 7lb) and Three Musketeers (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton, 10st 6lb).
Haydock Park's seven-race programme also features £75,000 The New One Unibet Hurdle (2.40pm) over two miles, a recognised trial for the £450,000 Unibet Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
The 10 entries are led by Brain Power (Nicky Henderson) and Silver Streak (Evan Williams), who finished first and second in the G2 Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December. Although Brain Power had a length and three quarters in hand on that occasion, Silver Streak enjoys a 4lb swing in the weights this weekend.
Recently-retired The New One, who landed the race named in his honour a record four times (2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018). will be parading before the The New One Unibet Hurdle at 2.15pm.
The New One in action at Haydock Park
Nicky Henderson holds the key to £30,000 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle (2.05pm), with the current Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle favourite, Angels Breath, and Mister Fisher headlining 14 entries.
Henderson has indicated that Mister Fisher is likely to be the Seven Barrows representative following his impressive success in a two-mile novices' hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
Other potentially high-class entpries include Bright Forecast (Ben Pauling), who is unbeaten over hurdles after wins at Newbury and Leicester, and the highly-regarded Thomas Darby (Olly Murphy), who defeated G1 Tolworth Hurdle victor Elixir De Nutz in a maiden hurdle at Cheltenham in October.
Jerrysback (Philip Hobbs), owned by J P McManus, sets the standard in the G2 Patrick Coyne Memorial Altcar Novices' Chase (1.30pm, 12 entries) over two and a half miles. Successful at Bangor on December 1, Jerrysback gave Vinndication a race when second in the G2 Noel Novices' Chase at Ascot on December 21.
Le Breuil (Ben Pauling) has also tried his hand in graded company, finishing third behind Santini in the G2 John Francome Novices' Chase at Newbury on December 1, while stablemate Kildisart was the narrow winner of a valuable graduation chase at Ascot on December 22.
Impressive Uttoxeter scorer Crucial Role (Dan Skelton) and G1-winning hurdlerPingshou (Colin Tizzard) may also run.
The action starts at 12.55pm and ends at 4.15pm at Haydock Park on Saturday, January 19.
The going at Haydock Park is currently Good to Soft, Soft in places.
About Haydock Park Racecourse
Haydock Park is a dual-purpose racecourse, staging 32 racing days on the Flat and over Jumps in 2018, and a leading conference centre in the north west of England. More information is available at haydock.thejockeyclub.co.uk
Haydock Park is part of The Jockey Club which stages thrilling sporting occasions including The Randox Health Grand National, The Cheltenham Festival and The Investec Derby.
Millions of people every year enjoy the special experiences The Jockey Club offers through racing, music, food and entertainment. Governed by Royal Charter, every penny made goes back into British Racing to help the sport thrive.
The Jockey Club was founded in 1750 and today is the largest commercial group in Britain's second-biggest spectator sport, operating 15 racecourses nationwide, The National Stud, Jockey Club Estates, Jockey Club Catering, Jockey Club Live and the charity, Racing Welfare. For more information, visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk
For further information please contact:
Grant Rowley, Regional Communications Manager, The Jockey Club (North West) on 07884 655990 or email: Grant.Rowley@thejockeyclub.co.uk
Jessica Dalgliesh, Senior Communications Executive, The Jockey Club (North West) on 07464 491507 or email: Jessica.Dalgliesh@thejockeyclub.co.uk