Village tackles Rising Stars
View from connections ahead of the Wincanton Rising Stars Novices' Chase on Saturday.
Shantou Village could have a break after Wincanton
Neil Mulholland hopes Shantou Village can take the next step up the ladder by maintaining his unbeaten record over fences with victory in the Wincanton Rising Stars Novices' Chase on Saturday.
The six-year-old faces just three rivals as he attempts to follow up wins at Fontwell and Cheltenham by making it three from three since being switched to larger obstacles in the Grade Two contest.
The Limpley Stoke handler said: "I've had this race in mind for him for a while, as I thought it would suit him.
"I thought his first run at Fontwell was good all bar the last fence, which he got wrong, then he was good the second time at Cheltenham, bar the one at the top of the hill.
"He still galloped on strongly at Cheltenham and beat some nice horses like Brother Tedd. He was the only one with a penalty and he could do no more than he did.
"He just races lazy and does what he has to do. It is a small field on Saturday and that will suit him. There is a chance that this could be his last run for a few months."
Harry Skelton is optimistic Vigilio, trained by his brother, Dan, can continue his solid start to life over fences by taking a first win at the level.
The seven-year-old backed up his debut win over fences at Warwick in May when dispatching a number of useful rivals in a warm contest at Newton Abbot last month.
Skelton said: "He did it very well at Newton Abbot, but obviously he was getting weight that day. He is in good form and we are happy with him at home.
"Of those we've run so far is right up there with the best of them. He tries very hard as you see when he runs and that is very much the same at home. You have just got to watch out that he doesn't do too much at home.
"It is a competitive race, but we are going there with a good chance."
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has won the two-mile-five-furlong prize on eight previous occasions, including with subsequent Grade One winners See More Business and Silviniaco Conti.
Although having multiple entries in the race at the five-day stage the Ditcheat handler will rely on the hat-trick seeking Frodon.
Assistant trainer Harry Derham said: "He has done everything right so far over fences. He is a great jumper for a four-year-old, but we expected he would be as he went round Auteuil over fences at three.
"It is a step up to what he has run against so far, but we think he is quite high class and he gets a bit of weight off the older horses as well. I don't think he cares what the ground is like as he has won when it has been hock deep and on good ground.
"I don't think the Bet Victor has been ruled out yet as he is a hardy horse. We will see how Saturday goes."
Fergal O'Brien reports Master Dee in good order as he bids to back up his front-running success at Ascot a week ago and stretch his run to 17 races without finishing outside the first three.
O'Brien said: "We just thought we would give it a go while the ground is good. He seems in good form and Wincanton should suit him.
"Even before we had him he had not been out of the first three. I think he is very progressive so it is worth taking our chance and trying to strike while the iron is hot.
"He is just so tough and genuine and has a great constitution. Anybody can ride him at home as he is a lovely horse to deal with and he is so laid back."
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