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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Henderson - Rainbow ready to startHeadlines
Finian's Rainbow

Nicky Henderson has declared himself much happier with Finian's Rainbow heading into the seasonal return of the champion chaser than he was 12 months ago.

Henderson's charge won a thrilling renewal of the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March before following up over two and a half miles in the Melling Chase at Aintree, and faces just four rivals in the Amlin 1965 Chase.

Henderson said: "I wasn't happy with him this time last year, but he's been a completely different horse this time. He's in good form, I just hope the ground doesn't get too sticky. I just want to get him started."

Paul Nicholls' Ghizao returned to form with a victory at Kempton earlier this month and steps back up to Grade Two company, but part-owner Andy Stewart is under no illusions about the task he will face in Berkshire.

Stewart said: "It's a very competitive race and we'd be up against it with Finian's Rainbow and Captain Chris. He's fresh and well, though, and he won on soft at Kempton, but I think he would have a lot to do against the champion chaser.

"He looked like being top class at one point and wasn't beaten far by Finian's Rainbow so he will take his chance and we will see whether he's a handicapper or something better."

The Nick Williams-trained For Non Stop tries to supplement his outstanding Old Roan Chase victory at Aintree last month.

Williams expects For Non Stop to find this a tough ask as he is rated 11lb inferior to Finian's Rainbow, but will have just 4lb in hand under the race conditions.

He said: "It's a very strong race. We are not at all well in (at the weights) with Finian's Rainbow and Captain Chris in terms of official ratings so I think we're up against it.

"The trip is right for him and he is fit and well but we are just not favoured by the weights. The fact he's had a run should help him - that must be an advantage - while the soft ground shouldn't be too much of a problem for him."

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