Politologue in Cheltenham preview
View from connections ahead of the Star Sports Cheltenham Preview Evening Novices' Chase at Haydock on Saturday.
Politologue steps up in class at Haydock Park
Paul Nicholls' Politologue is out to confirm the impression he has made in his first two outings over fences in the Star Sports Cheltenham Preview Evening Novices' Chase at Haydock.
Owned by John Hales, he is naturally a grey, and after beating a decent yardstick in Vintage Clouds by 10 lengths at Haydock on his chasing debut, he stepped up to Grade Two class at Ascot.
Jumping fluently and seemingly effortlessly, he ground his rivals into submission from some way out, in a style reminiscent of one of Hales' previous greats, One Man.
While Nicholls was still crowned champion trainer last season he currently lacks a real flag-bearer but another dominant display from Politologue could see him potentially emerge as one of the best in his powerful stable.
"I'm really looking forward to it, he was great to watch at Ascot last time," said Hales.
"He got into such a lovely rhythm out in front, his jumping was spectacular for a novice. It looks a good race this weekend, one of the best of it's type, but hopefully he should take all the beating.
"The ground will be no excuse, it's not going to be normal Haydock January ground.
"I'm still in Barbados so I'll be glued to a television watching. As for the rest of the season, we'll get this race out of the way and then take a view."
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Tom George's Bun Doran was a winner over hurdles on this card last season yet until a win last time out he had apparently lost his way.
Still only just six, George is now hoping he has matured into the horse he once looked like being.
"He was still a young horse last season and I think it just all caught up with him," said George. "We always viewed him as a chaser so it was nice to see him go and do that last time out. One side of his pedigree says he's going to be a stayer, but he has shown plenty of speed.
"We know the course suits him as he won on this card last year and he certainly won't mind the ground. For now, I'd say this as as far as he'd want to go.
"On the figures we are up against up but it's a good race, one of the best of it's kind, they look to be the next generation."
Malcolm Jefferson has some nice horses at his disposal this season and one of those is Waiting Patiently.
A seven-length winner on chasing debut at Sedgefield, he beat Brian Ellison's Forest Bihan, a subsequent winner, at Newcastle.
"The horse he beat last time (Forest Bihan), I know Brian Ellison thinks the world of him and he has won since," said Jefferson.
"While ours might not be top class he's a very good horse on soft ground and so while it's like it is we may as well have a go and see what we've got.
"It will tell us a good bit about him, but he wouldn't be a Cheltenham horse because when he came to me Richard (Collins) who owns him said he must run on soft ground.
"The one time he didn't he came back injured, so we'll stick to soft. He's got a change of gear, which he showed last time, and he settled well. You just wouldn't know how good he is."
Adding further lustre is Dan Skelton's Its'afreebee, third in the Neptune to Yorkhill and Yanworth last season and who beat Cole Harden over fences at Wetherby, together with Maximiser and Solatentif.
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