Kauto Star Novices’ Chase: Ahoy Senor taking on Bravemansgame an exciting prospect for trainer Lucinda Russell | Racing News

As you indulge in your holiday season, give a thought to Lucinda Russell as she tackles the roads and makes the 444-mile journey south from Kinross to Kempton.

His latest Christmas present will be victory for Ahoy Senor in first grade Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, and the sense of excitement is not unlike what you’d expect from a kid opening his holiday presents.

Russell said: “Everything Ahoy Senor does at home he finds very easy and has a lot of skill. His gallop work is sparkling but he is a horse that needs more experience.

“We could have avoided Kempton and not taken on Bravemansgame so early, but when I rode him to Newbury, he showed the kind of horse he is and I think he grew up in that race.

“Sunday will be a different game in Kempton and those barriers will go up quickly for him, but we are not afraid to face a good horse and we are not afraid to lose either. At the end of the day, we are creating the horse and it is a great prize to win. .

“I think he deserves to take his place there and it’s all very exciting, but this weekend is not all and we finish because we are thinking a lot about his long term future.”

Russell has already carved his name in Scottish folklore with the One For Arthur victory at the Grand National at Aintree in 2017 and is no stranger to Grade One success not even with Brindisi Breeze highlighting his name when he conquered the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Obstacle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012.

Ahoy Senor, ridden by jockey, Derek Fox on the way to win John Francome’s novice chase in Newbury

It must have seemed a bold plan to enter the 16/1 winner of an inaugural two-and-a-half-mile hurdle at Ayr last March at the end of the Grade One Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle on an extended three-mile Aintree the following month, but Ahoy Senor scoffed at his 66/1 starting price when he made it all for a seven-point success by Bravemansgame.

Russell reflects: “He won his point to point impressively and finished second in his bumper and then he won his first hurdle in Ayr.

“We thought it was a very, very good horse and we didn’t want to risk it running on safe ground and we went to Aintree looking for that.

“We knew he was going to race in a great race and I suppose we thought he could be placed because he had shown his skill at home.

“There were some horses talked about in the race and Bravemansgame came in very good shape and we don’t know if it was the end of his season.

“Sometimes, as coaches, we can be slightly insulted by good horses who are likely to leave, but I thought it was a lot of fun and the bookmakers were completely wrong.”

Ahoy Senor wins Grade One at Aintree
Ahoy Senor beats Bravemansgame (white cap) at Aintree in April

The first stop this season was the listed Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase in Carlisle in October and the Russell team was literally brought back to earth when Ahoy Senor ousted Derek Fox two outs.

Russell said: “We went to Carlisle to give him some experience and was in a bit of a rush to get him ready for the race.

“It was his first run of the season and the journey was a short half mile for him, but we had to go there because the terrain was right for him. He just slipped and knocked out his driver, and he was just a beginner, which was a kid thing. to do.”

Back to the drawing board, Russell plotted the Grade Two Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase on just under three miles to Newbury in November for Ahoy Senor and he was not to disappoint as he walked down the straight to easily score 31 lengths from Mr. Incredible. trained by Henry de Bromhead.

Russell continued: “At first he made a small mistake in the water jump, but he just put himself on the edge and jumped big. Derek gave him a great instructive ride and taught him a lot.”

That experience was confirmed at home and Russell was delighted with what he saw in the meantime.

Bravemansgame led by jockey Harry Cobden wins at Haydock
Bravemansgame won both starts on the fences for coach Paul Nicholls

He said, “He’s a funny horse and a horse that is very self-possessed. He is in no way anxious about things and is very sure of himself.

“Derek and Cameron (Wadge) drive him home, he has incredible cruising speed and does everything asked of him with ease.”

Bravemansgame obviously has a deficit of seven points to make up with Ahoy Senor on the obstacle course at Aintree.

Though he looked monstrous in his two fence wins with a five-and-a-half-length win from Fusil Raffles to Newton Abbot in October, supported by a two-and-three-quarter victory by Itchy Feet in a graduation hunt at Haydock last month. , Russell is clearly in love with what her main opponent looks like.

He said: “I admire Bravemansgame and I think he is a fantastic horse. I respect him immensely and I saw him win at Haydock and I thought he was a fantastic horse.

“In my time where I have been training to have Ahoy Senor and Bravemansgame go up against, I think it’s very exciting. I’m looking forward to it and I think it will be a race worth watching for a long time.”

Russell “can’t contain the excitement” for Mighty Thunder

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Having filled second place twice in the Welsh National, Russell is hoping for a change of luck as Mighty Thunder heads to Chepstow on Monday, live on Sky Sports Racing.

Russell’s foray into the south won’t end in Kempton on Sunday as he looks certain to be aiming for further national glory with Mighty Thunder in the Coral Welsh Grand National in Chepstow on Monday, live on Sky Sports Racing.

The eight-year-old Malinas gelding added the Edinburgh national team in Musselburgh in February and the Scottish national team in Ayr to his CV last season and was also runner-up in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter in March between those two successes.

Mighty Thunder finished fourth behind Fusil Raffles in an accident-filled Charlie Hall Chase for over three miles at Wetherby in October, and Russell is looking forward to the Mighty Thunder performing at the Chepstow flagship.

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Joe Tizzard says the former Gold Cup winner Native River is as competitive and enthusiastic as ever with the squad considering whether to head to the Welsh national team on December 27, live on Sky Sports Racing.

He said: “He goes for the Welsh National and we put him in Rowland Meyrick in Wetherby in case the Chepstow is blocked or canceled.

“I think he may have gone a little under the radar and I think he will go there with very good chances.

“The race will suit him well and I thought he ran a very good race at Wetherby and we took him out of the Becher Chase due to the combination of the fences and the heavy ground.

“I don’t care if it goes very soft in Chepstow and we wouldn’t be afraid of the heavy ground. We know it will stay the trip and I can’t help myself from the excitement.”

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