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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Hobbs has grounds for optimismHeadlines
Captain Chris

Philip Hobbs feels Captain Chris will prove well able to adapt to the testing ground when he goes for glory in the Betfair Ascot Chase.

The nine-year-old handled conditions well enough to win the Amlin 1965 Chase at the Berkshire course in November, and then ran a tremendous race in the King George VI Chase at Kempton when he was only beaten a neck by Long Run.

"Ideally he wants better ground, but he won the Amlin on heavy. He seems in great form and he was always going to have a few weeks off after the King George," said the trainer.

"You can always supplement for the Ryanair, but the Gold Cup has always been the plan and we want to keep our horses apart. He ran a fantastic race at Kempton and is in very good form. He always had a tendency to jump right, so it shouldn't matter too much at Ascot."

Finian's Rainbow has something to prove after finishing a well-beaten last of four behind Captain Chris on his seasonal reappearance. Last year's Queen Mother Champion Chase hero has had a wind operation since then and needs a run.

"We've always said we don't want to run him on soft ground, but we haven't got a choice and there's nowhere else to go," said trainer Nicky Henderson.

"I'd have loved to have had another week, but I want to give him a run and we will be able to decide about Cheltenham after Saturday."

Colin Tizzard expects Cue Card's performance will tell him which race to go for at Cheltenham, the Ryanair Chase or the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The seven-year-old has to put behind him a disappointing display in the King George, when he failed to last out the three miles.

The trainer said: "This is a race we planned from Christmas to take in before Cheltenham. He didn't get three miles on heavy ground on Boxing Day. Whether he'll get three miles another day there, I don't know.

"Our view is if he's going to run in the Ryanair he needs to nearly win this. If he doesn't stay he can go back and take on Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase. We will keep the options open to the end, but Ascot should show us which way we are going to go at Cheltenham."

13 February 2016

Lizzie Kelly has eye for the big time as Agrapart takes Newbury prize
Sempre Medici strikes under Ruby Walsh to take Gowran honours
Dodging Bullets gunned down by Top Gamble at Newbury
L'Ami Serge floored at Warwick by Violet Dancer
Houblon Des Obeaux dominates Denman Chase at Newbury
Smashing effort gives Henry de Bromhead Gowran glory
Count Guido Deiro outstays his rivals
Open Eagle soars at Warwick for Willie Mullins
Dan Skelton looks to Aintree with Newbury winner Meet The Legend
Jessica Harrington expects Ttebbob to show true colours in Flyingbolt at Navan
Ben Pauling thrilled with Barters Hill as Cheltenham Festival looms large
Black Hercules set to star in Ten Up at Navan
Tuesday's Lingfield card subject to Sunday inspection
Nicky Henderson's Buveur D'Air looks to book Supreme place at Exeter
Jonjo O'Neill has high hopes for Taquin Du Seuil on Warwick return
Josses Hill peaks at Kempton for red-hot Nico de Boinville
Willie Mullins seeking more Gowran gains with Sempre Medici
Nicky Henderson joy at 'perfect' My Tent Or Yours Kempton workout
Open Eagle seeking to book Cheltenham ticket at Warwick
Tony Martin and Dedigout target Boyne brace at Navan
Paul Nicholls hoping Dodging Bullets can fire in Newbury return
Rocky Creek aiming to regain winning thread as he tackles Denman date at Newbury
L'Ami Serge aiming to book Arkle ticket in Kingmaker test at Warwick
Connections hoping Blazer is tailor-made for Betfair test

12 February 2016

Kempton scorer Josses Hill back in business for Nicky Henderson
Victoria Pendleton to gain more point-to-point experience
Morning chasing Red Mills glory at Gowran
Willie Mullins seeking more Gowran gains with Sempre Medici
Harry Bentley joins Roger Varian's Newmarket team
Oisin Murphy sidelined by broken collar bone
Martin Lane sidelined following Kempton fall
My Tent Or Yours to have Kingwell prep at Kempton
Top Notch handed Morebattle Kelso aim
Exeter call precautionary check for Sunday card
Market Rally repels British raiders to claim UAE Guineas gold at Meydan
Ma Du Fou strikes Listed gold for Warren Greatrex at Huntingdon
David Pipe mulling Festival hurdles switch with Kings Palace
Winter Escape on Aintree trail following Doncaster victory for Alan King
National aims for Kerry Lee's trio of star staying chasers
Nico de Boinville keen on Altior Cheltenham chance
Willie Mullins considering Punchestown test for Annie Power
Tom George issues ground warning ahead of God's Own Kempton spin
Jonjo O'Neill swerves Newbury with More Of That

11 February 2016

Bangor and Uttoxeter beaten by weather
Mags Mullins sets sights on Cheltenham Festival with Thurles winner Ballychorus
Ma Du Fou cashes in with Banks success at Huntingdon
Tom George earmarks Doncaster prep for Grand National hope Saint Are
Willie Mullins set to chart direct Cheltenham route with Annie Power
Tracey Collins joy at Captain comeback at Dundalk
Blazer features in five-pronged Willie Mullins Newbury raid
Uttoxeter makes early call to abandon Saturday fixture
Ruby Walsh left deflated by Killultagh Vic injury
Bangor Friday card declared a washout
JLT favourite Killultagh Vic ruled out of Cheltenham Festival
Weekend workout planned ahead of Ascot 'option' for Flemenstar
Triumph Hurdle contender Fixe Le Kap heading for Victor Ludorum at Haydock
Kim Bailey has Supreme thoughts for Charbel
North Hill Harvey bids to secure Cheltenham ticket at Huntingdon
Gigginstown happy to play waiting game in Cheltenham Gold Cup
Peace And Co undergoes 'straightforward' respiratory procedure
Victoria Pendleton poised for hunter chase bow at Fakenham
Paul Nicholls flat out to prove Aux Ptits Soins Cheltenham fitness

10 February 2016

Subtle Grey has Donald McCain smiling at Carlisle
Bangor 'relatively pessimistic' about Friday fixture
Nina Carberry awaits further news on back injury
Injured Wayne Hutchinson to return next week
Rookie trainer Andrew McNamara ready to roll at Navan
Revised Uttoxeter programme a doubt on Saturday
Bangor 'relatively pessimistic' about Friday fixture
Oliver Sherwood sets Rayvin Black Wincanton target
Brian Ellison outlines Cheltenham plans for 'monster' Small Talk
Carlisle meeting given go-ahead
Carlisle meeting given go-ahead
Paul Nicholls - Cheltenham domination for Willie Mullins would take title
Micky Hammond not afraid of Champion Chase challenge with Just Cameron
Dan Skelton thinking of Fred Winter for Market Rasen winner Kasakh Noir
Willie Mullins sits out weekend action with Gold Cup favourite Vautour
Barry Geraghty cautious on Betfair Hurdle chance for Blazer
Victoria Pendleton mount Pacha Du Polder could go straight to Cheltenham
Paul Nicholls hands Silviniaco Conti Ascot Chase mission

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