Two of Ireland’s leading three-mile novice chasers have been given entries for Kempton’s Grade 1 Feltham Novices Chase on Boxing Day, hoping to follow in the hoof prints of last year’s winner and this coming Sunday’s live King George VI Chase candidate Long Run, writes Elliot Slater.
Those looking ahead to cheltenham festival 2011 amongst other events note that the ‘Feltham’ is nearly always won by a very good novice chaser and this year Irish hopes Jessies Dream and Loosen My Load will bid to take the prize back to the Emerald Isle for the very first time. Gordon Elliott’s Jessies Dream could run at Kempton only 11 day after being the principal beneficiary of the fall of Mikael D’Haguenet at Fairyhouse last week, the pair having been upsides at the final fence in the Grade 1 Drinmore Chase when Willie Mullins’ horse took a tumble.
Henry de Bromhead’s Loosen My Load won the Grade 2 Buck House Novices’ Chase at Punchestown in October before running second to the decent Ghizao in a Grade 2 contest at Cheltenham last month. That race was over two miles and it remains to be seen whether or not the six-year-old will be any more effective over an extra mile. The evidence of his cosy success over two-and-a-half miles at Punchestown last May, suggests that Kempton’s three-mile course might well be within his compass.
Amongst the best of the British team potentially taking on the Irish pair, Paul Nicholls’ Aiteen Thirtythree, an impressive scorer in Grade 2 company at Newbury last time out, and his quietly progressive Exeter scorer Watamu Bay, Nicky Henderson’s unexposed Ascot winner Master Of The Hall, and Paul Webber’s improving Cois Farraig, will all being doing their best to keep the coveted prize on home soil.