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Schedule – November 2015

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Josses Hill Makes Chase Debut

The 2.30 at Ascot on Friday sees the exciting Josses Hill make his chasing debut.


Trainer, Nicky Henderson, saddled the talented Simonsig to a winning chase debut in the corresponding race in 2012, and he has strong claims of landing this Mitie Novices’ Chase again.


Josses Hill has always struck me as a horse that will improve when taking to the bigger obstacles and I am very much looking forward to seeing him in full flight at Ascot. His hurdle form reads very well. He ran what was arguably his best race in defeat to Vautour in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham.


Ridden by Andrew Tinkler that day (Barry Geraghty rode Vaniteux), Josses Hill stayed on strongly up the famous, Cheltenham hill, to grab the second spot from his Barry Geraghty ridden stable-mate. With Vautour making an impressive chasing debut at Navan last month that form has been boosted even more.


We last saw Josses Hill at the Aintree Grand National Meeting in April, when he comfortably took the scalp of Sgt Reckless (who has also made a winning chasing debut) in the International Festival for Business 2014 Top Novices’ Hurdle.


There’s no doubt his hurdle form is strong but can he make the switch to chasing? I think so.


Nicky Henderson has decided to throw the Winged Love gelding into the deep end for his chasing bow. He could have started off in a minor contest but the fact he is pitching him in against the experienced Ptit Zig and Dunraven Storm on his chasing debut, he holds Josses Hill in high regard.


The Paul Nicholls trained Ptit Zig was also a very useful performer over timber and is two from two over fences, notching up emphatic wins at Exeter and Warwick, albeit in weaker company than he faces at Ascot.


Dunraven Storm has also taken well to fences and his latest run, when finishing second to Vibrato Valtat in the Grade 1 Racing Post Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, reads well, although I don’t think it was a strong renewal of the race.


Friday’s clash is sure to be an interesting and competitive one, but I’ve been waiting for Josses Hill to make his chasing debut for some time now and I think he will make a winning start. He’s currently a best priced 8/1 shot for the Racing Post Arkle at Cheltenham in March, but an impressive winning performance in this Grade 2 contest and that price will most definitely disappear.


Vautour and Josses Hill going hammer and tongs around Cheltenham in March would be a contest to savour wouldn’t it?


Conor O’Hehir / Photo John Giles / PA Wire

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