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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Midnight in the chase for DoncasterHeadlines
Midnight Chase

Wiltshire trainer Neil Mulholland has designs on Doncaster's Sky Bet Chase for Midnight Chase.

The 11-year-old was outclassed in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, but will attempt to set the record straight later this month.

Mulholland said: "The Lexus was a Grade One over three miles and he was simply not quick enough to go with them. The Sky Bet is a lower grade and I can see him doing well at a left-handed track like Doncaster on good ground."

Despite having won five races at Cheltenham, Midnight Chase has not been given an entry in the Betfred-sponsored Gold Cup. He will instead be geared towards the John Smith's Grand National in April.

Mulholland said: "We can't win the Gold Cup, so it was a waste of time entering him. This year we will be concentrating on the Grand National - that would probably be his main target. He's an out-an-out stayer and he's a good jumper."

Midnight Chase is one of 60 entries for the Sky Bet Chase on January 26, when last year's winner Calgary Bay could bid to defend his crown. Fruity O'Rooney finished third in 2012 and is on course to renew rivalry.

Trainer Gary Moore said: "He was unlucky not to win the Sky Bet last year and is 1lb lower now. I think he has a good chance and he deserves a big one."

Andover handler Emma Lavelle could be represented by course-and-distance winner Court By Surprise and Qianshan Leader, who was fifth in the Sky Bet last term.

Lavelle said: "We are looking at the Sky Bet Chase for Court By Surprise. He likes nicer ground and that's why Doncaster seems to suit him quite well because it tends to be a bit better up there."

"Qianshan Leader is only a possible runner at this stage. He has had a disaster of a season so far in that he is a top-of-the-ground horse, but there hasn't been any of that around."

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