Alex Hales expects Millers Bank to build on his high-class hurdles form when making his eagerly awaited chasing debut at Huntingdon tomorrow (Sunday 31st October) after reporting his rising star to have been a “natural” schooling over fences at home.
Millers Bank took his form to new heights on his final start last season when finishing third ahead of the likes of dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air on his Grade One debut in the Betway Aintree Hurdle at the Merseyside track in April.
Although the seven year old is yet to see a fence in public, Hales believes he can account for his six rivals in the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Novices’ Chase over two and a half miles and get off to a winning start over fences.
Hales said: “It does look an interesting race. We are very happy with him and chasing was always the plan this season after his good run in the Aintree Hurdle.
“We were delighted with the run in the Aintree Hurdle run to finish third behind Abacadabras and ahead of some good horses.
“I knew he was improving and we took a bit of a chance in the Grade One. Hopefully, now he is going over fences he will improve again.
“He has been very good at home and we have done plenty of work with him. I’m just hoping they get the bit of rain they are promised as he wants it on the easy side of good.
“He has always been very good over fences at home and has been a natural. He has the size and scope to make a chaser and everything has been geared at going over fences.
“Two and a half miles is the right place to start him off over but I can see him ending up over three miles. He is very exciting and hopefully we are still dreaming on Sunday.”
Among those taking on Millers Bank is the Dan Skelton-trained Cadzand, who bounced back from defeat when sent off favourite for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury with victory in a novice contest at Southwell in March.
Skelton said: “I’m really happy with Cadzand. We have been a non-runner a few times because of the ground which is frustrating but we are happy to start him over fences here.
“The ground will be perfect and the trip is ideal. I feel it is a very competitive race but it is a good place to start him off and we are looking forward to it.”
Completing the line-up are the Olly Murphy-trained pair of Champagnesuperover and Nickolson, Artemision from the Ben Pauling yard, The Cathal Don, who will fly the flag for Seamus Mullins and the Pam Sly representative Xcitations.