George not worried about trip for God’s Own
Tom George: "God's Own further forward than previous seasons"
PICTURE: Sam Lawrie George not worried about trip for God's Own
By Scott Burton 9:30AM 19 NOV 2016
FORM students should not have to search too hard to unearth the key piece of evidence in Saturday's Stella Artois 1965 Chase as Ascot, with four of the first five home from last month's Old Roan Chase at Aintree reopposing.
On that occasion Third Intention just held the late charge of God's Own, with Vibrato Valtat and Royal Regatta following that pair home.
Last spring Tom George really found the key to God's Own – he might have been involved at the business end of the Queen Mother Champion Chase but for a sloppy jump at the last – winning Grade 1s at Aintree and Fairyhouse.
"He's probably a bit further forward than in previous seasons," said George. "We were delighted with him at Aintree, where he did everything right. He was a bit unlucky when he got stopped three out before running on well.
"A Grade 1 penalty is never easy but you can't say he doesn't deserve it. It's the furthest we've run him over but we're not worried about the trip."
Nicholls happy with pair
Paul Nicholls has made clear his feeling that 2015 Champion Chase winner Dodging Bullets is ready for a step up to this sort of intermediate distance, a thought that seemed to be borne out by his third-placed effort in the Haldon Gold Cup over a 2m1½f.
Stablemate Vibrato Valtat has never won over further than the Haldon trip but was a decent second to Clarcam over 2m4f as a novice and looked fully effective at the trip in the Old Roan.
"Dodging Bullets will be fitter for his run, the ground is softer and the extra distance should suit. He has a nice chance if he runs to his best," said the champion trainer.
"It was a decent comeback for Vibralto Valtat because he needed the run a bit and he got to the front soon enough as he travelled so well. I'm sure this trip will suit him better and he'll strip fitter for the run."
Lough may need the run
Kylemore Lough, meanwhile, escapes a Grade 1 penalty for his novice success at Fairyhouse last season and was one of the most progressive chasers to emerge from the second half of the campaign.
"I've been pleased with his preparation and it was lovely to get the Grade 1 win last season," said trainer Kerry Lee.
"This is a step up again and is a Grade 2 in name only with God's Own, Vibrato Valtat and Dodging Bullets in there. My horses seem to be needing the run first time out but I'm happy with him."