Thomas Crapper has had a good season and ran a brilliant race when fourth to Road To Respect in the highly competitive Plate at the Festival back in March
TRAINER Robin Dickin believes Thomas Crapper can go very close in the £50,000 Silver Trophy Chase at Cheltenham if he reproduces his Festival run.
Twice a winner over hurdles at the track, Thomas Crapper has yet to win over fences there, although it is not for the want of trying.
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Second to Irish Cavalier at the Festival as a novice in 2015, he had run three solid races there in major handicaps this season before finishing fourth to Road To Respect in the Plate back in March.
That form has been franked by the winner who has subsequently won a Grade 1, albeit in fortuitous circumstances due to Yorkhill‘s wayward jumping.
“A repeat of his Festival run would nearly make him the one to beat,” said Dickin.
“That only came 11 days after his win at Newbury and it wasn’t the plan at all.
“I never for one moment thought he’d get in, winning at Newbury got him the penalty and it still looked a long shot. We declared thinking we’d no chance, but he got in and ran a blinder and off a little break he should go well.
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“When he won at Newbury, I was really worried about the soft ground as we always thought he wanted it good, so the drier ground won’t be a problem and he’s up against a few horses who were behind him last month.
“He has won twice at Cheltenham, but over hurdles. How he’s never won over fences there, I’m not sure, but we’ll keep trying.”
Village Vic tops the weights over his favourite course and distance, but he was some way behind Thomas Crapper at the Festival. Starchitect, Art Mauresque, Voix D’Eau, Henryville and were others beaten that day who all meet again.
Alan King’s River Frost heads the weights in the Arkells Brewery Handicap Hurdle with Divine Spear, Drumcliff and It’safreebee, who is back over timber, of interest.
William Henry, second to Wholestone in a Grade 2 in January, reappears in the opening Citipost Novices’ Hurdle after missing the major festivals.
With decent money on offer, Paul Nicholls will be hoping to close the gap on Nicky Henderson and will be looking to the likes of Coastal Tiep, Copain De Classe and Marracudja to contribute.