Big decision on Denman
Trainer Paul Nicholls is “dead keen” to run Denman in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday — but a final decision will not be made until later in the week.
The 2008 Gold Cup hero has long been thought likely to have his final race before a third crack at the blue riband in the Aon Chase at Newbury on February 13, a track where he is unbeaten and has won two Hennessys.
“I am dead keen to run if Paul (Barber, joint owner) wants to go because he is ready to run. I'm just amazed how quick he has come to hand. He did a great bit of work on Saturday,” Nicholls said.
“I think Paul always prefers to go to Newbury because he has done so well there.
“The last thing we want to do is give him a really hard race before the Gold Cup so it would help if it is a dry week because the ground can get really testing at this Cheltenham meeting.”
Meanwhile, Mighty Man takes his next step on the road to March’s Cheltenham Festival in the Huntingdon Novices' Chase at the Cambridgeshire venue tomorrow.
Top-class over hurdles but injury prone, the Henry Daly-trained gelding looked a natural over the bigger obstacles at Hereford in December and a repeat effort could convince connections to go for the RSA Chase at the big meeting.
Ballabrook was unlucky not to win at Ludlow last time but compensation awaits in the Scottish Racing Your Better Bet Handicap Chase at Musselburgh.
The eight-year-old did not enjoy the best of runs that day and possibly waited a touch too long before making his challenge.
He went down by just a nose to The Snail and although he hung on the flat there, Ballabrook can gain just reward.
Rocket Rob made an excellent start for new connections when winning at Wolverhampton earlier in the month and can follow up in the digibet Handicap at Kempton.
Winner of four races for Simon Callaghan last year, the four-year-old is now in the care of Marco Botti after his former handler's switch to America.
Rocket Rob seems to have settled into the new regime too, returning from a four-month lay-off with a gutsy success over the minimum trip at Dunstall Park just under two weeks ago.