Lucinda Russell’s young star will run in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase on March 16 instead of jump racing’s blue riband
AHOY SENOR will contest the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase rather than taking aim at the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup, his trainer Lucinda Russell revealed yesterday.
The belief that Cheltenham’s New Course, in use for the final two days of the National Hunt Festival, would play to the seven-year-old’s strengths persuaded Russell to make a bold entry in chasing’s blue riband after Ahoy Senor’s 31-length victory at Newbury in November.
But the Perth and Kinross trainer will keep Grade One-winning hurdler Ahoy Senor, who warmed up for the fixture with a five-and-a-half-length success in the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby 23 days ago, to novice company – and aim for the Gold Cup in 2023.
“We put the entry in thinking he would be better suited by the Gold Cup track but I think it’s a year too soon for him,” Russell said yesterday.
“It was a brave thing. We did it after he had won so nicely at Newbury but our main aim is to do the Gold Cup next year.”
The three-mile Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase is run on Cheltenham’s Old Course on March 16, and Russell added: “We are just going to have to suffer it and go to the other track.
“He’s in really good form – he came out of his last race well and worked really well on Saturday – and we are delighted with him.”
Meanwhile, Allegorie De Vassy is on course for the Parnell Properties Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on March 17, despite drifting alarmingly in the betting for the race during the weekend.
And on Sunday Botox Has showed true grit to land the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell Park – four months after putting his jockey Josh Moore in hospital.
Moore suffered a fractured vertebra and broken ribs – thanks to the COVID-19 crisis he had to wait eight days for surgery – when the six-year-old, trained by his father Gary, crashed out over fences at Plumpton in October.
So there was an element of payback as 20-1 chance Botox Has, headed on the run to the final flight of the Royalequestrian Bedding And Manor Elite Horsebox-sponsored Grade 2, fought back on the run-in to beat Brewin’upastorm by a head.
“The last time I wore these colours, they were being cut off me,” said the winning rider. “This means a lot.”
Moore’s father, who had a four-timer at the fixture – split two apiece between Josh and brother Jamie – added: “The horse owed him that and I’m delighted for Josh – what happened to him was horrible and it was two ways whether he would come back or not.”