Jockey David Noonan believes Favori De Sivola ticks “plenty of boxes” as he bids to claim his third victory from as many starts this season in the Somerset National Handicap Chase (3m 2f 162y) at Wincanton tomorrow (Thursday 20th January).
Since undergoing a second wind operation in the summer, the Nick Williams-trained seven year old has returned a rejuvenated character and followed up victory on his seasonal return over 3m at Exeter in November with a last gasp success in the Follow @MansionBetRace On Twitter Lord Stalbridge Gold Cup Handicap Chase (3m 1f) at Wincanton on Boxing Day.
With tomorrow’s step up in trip expected to play to the strengths of Favori De Sivola, it has left Noonan confident of securing a fifth win aboard the John White and Anne Underhill-owned gelding.
Noonan said: “He has got good course form having already won around there twice. The last day he showed a very good, willing attitude in sticking his neck out on the line.
“Hopefully, the step up in trip will help him. He is nicely-weighted and together with his course form he ticks plenty of boxes.
“He is pretty versatile ground-wise but it is probably a little bit less hard work for him on better ground.
“The target after his last win was to have a go at a regional National that was over three miles-plus as he seems to stay so well. Having run well around Wincanton before, this was an obvious target for him.”
Noonan has developed a close bond with Favori De Sivola over the past two seasons and the 26 year old rider puts much of it down to the horse’s impressive attitude.
He explained: “I was lucky enough to get on him when he started over fences and we’ve had four wins together so we have a good partnership going.
“He is a very willing horse and tries hard and as a jockey that is the sort of horse you want. He always keeps finding and sticks his neck out when it matters and you can’t ask for much more.
“In the past I’ve schooled him at home now and again before he has run. He is quite laidback at home. He is quite unassuming and does as much as he needs to. He saves his energy for when it matters on the racetrack.
“He has probably done a little bit better than everyone expected but he keeps seeming to find those little bits of improvement. He has done nothing to suggest he won’t keep on improving.”
Although Noonan has a long way to go before emulating his seasonal best tally of 41 winners - achieved in the 2015-16 season - victory aboard Favori De Sivola would help continue his recent purple patch in the saddle.
Noonan concluded: “I was tipping away but since Christmas time I’ve got winners on a more regular basis and I’m getting plenty of rides so I can’t really complain.
“It is pretty competitive out there and if I can keep the momentum up it just helps keep my name out there.”