Tom Lacey is hopeful that Neville’s Cross can give a good account of himself on his first start over fences in the Unibet "You're On" Handicap Chase at Market Rasen on Friday (May 7).
It’s an unusual race for a horse to make their bow over the bigger obstacles, but Lacey has taken advantage of a new rule change which allows his six-year-old to appear in a handicap on his chasing debut and he is hopeful that the six-year-old will make a seamless switch to the larger obstacles.
He said: “I’ve always thought he’d be better for a fence and I think that it’s just time we got on with it.
“I’m a big fan of the new novice chase rule that lets him run here and he’s run in a point to point in the past. He was schooling all through his three and four-year old life, so we’re looking forward to seeing how he goes.”
The Class 3 contest over three miles highlights an eight race card at Market Rasen and provides a marquee moment for the Lincolnshire venue, having been selected for terrestrial coverage on ITV4 alongside the Chester May Festival.
Neville’s Cross is the current 11-2 third favourite with Unibet in a wide-open 11-runner contest and also prominent in the market is the Tom George-trained Forgot To Ask (Unibet’s current 5-1 joint-favourite alongside As You Like), who showed a good attitude to return to winning ways at Plumpton in March.
And his trainer is hopeful of another nice run from his charge, who is able to take his chance off just 1lb higher in the weights here.
He said: “He’s been consistent and is in good heart at the moment. He won nicely at Plumpton last time and he’s won at the track before, so we’re hoping for a nice run.”
There are several runners who arrive here with a creditable chance, including the James Evans-trained Compadre, who was collared on the line in a dramatic race at Haydock Park last month.
The 10-year-old was caught by a rival who hit the maximum of 999-1 on the Betfair Exchange in-running and despite being disappointed in the immediate aftermath, Evans felt that there were plenty of positives to take from the run.
He said: “He ran well last time at Haydock and just got left in front very early, he ran well though and a reproduction of that form we’d hope will stand him in good stead and he’s a course and distance winner there so we’re hopeful of a good run.
“I was gutted to start with, but when I looked at the replay I don’t think we did a lot wrong. When the one who ran out it left us in front it was probably a bit early but it was one of those things and fair play to Charlie Deutsch who was on a very fair winner in the end – despite taking half the fences with him!
Returning from a break is the eight-year-old Dancing In The Sky, who was last seen finishing fourth in heavy ground at Lingfield last November. The current Good ground should suit, but trainer Dr Richard Newland feels his charge may just need this outing on what will be his first try over three miles.
He said: “He’s in good heart and I think this is probably about right for him trip wise by going a bit further, but it is his first run of the season. He’s ready for it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two are just a bit sharper than he is. He won first time out last year, but he may just need it a bit this time around.”