2020/21 champion trainer Paul Nicholls saddles one contender in a “competitive” renewal of the Grade 3 Betway Summer Plate Handicap Chase at Market Rasen on Saturday afternoon.
The Somerset handler has won two previous renewals of the contest in 2001 and 2017, respectively, and puts his hopes on Darling Maltaix for this year’s renewal in Lincolnshire.
Having won his last start at Newton Abbot, the son of Voix Du Nord has been raised 3lb by the handicapper to a career-high mark of 134, but history does say that he fares much better over this sort of trip.
Former Grand National-winning chief Nicholls told Racing TV ahead of the contest: “He’s been trained for this race and I’m very happy with his prep – his run and win at Newton Abbot last month has really tightened him up.
“Saturday’s one of the toughest races he’s ever run in and it promises to be a competitive contest, but Darling’s ready for it. He looks brilliant in his skin, he’s fit, he’s relaxed and he’s working well – there’s lots of little crumbs to make a cake!”
For Ditcheat and Paul Nicholls to toast success on Saturday, they must dethrone Captain Tom Cat from his winning run with Dr. Richard Newland’s charge hunting a fourth success over fences.
The Aintree winner (solid form) has scored twice at Worcester in recent outings and is the general 9/2 favourite to land the odds despite his lofty mark.
Worcestershire-based trainer Newland said to the Sporting Life: “He’s been a complete revelation since going chasing and is obviously unbeaten over fences. The handicapper has not made it easy for him and he’s very nearly top weight as the youngest horse in the race.
“All of his racing over fences has been done going left-handed so it’ll be a different challenge on Saturday, but we look forward to running him and he’s in good form.
“He’s taken all of his races in his stride and he loves his jumping. He’s pretty inexperienced in a race like this but if he did manage to win off this mark he must be a very good horse.”