Alex Hales will wait until the last moment before deciding whether or not Millers Bank will face Ahoy Senor and Bravemansgame in the Grade One Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novizis’ Chase (In Memory Of Nigel Clark) in Kempton on Boxing Day.
Close third at the Aintree Hurdle in April, the seven-year-old showed flawless display of jumping on his seasonal debut and chase at Huntingdon, but knocked Harry Bannister two out of the way when he remained ahead in a four-seat Grade Two. the novice chase in Newbury last month, which Nassalam won.
While Millers Bank has the option of traveling three miles to Kempton, the Edgcote coach admits he could wait a week for Grade Two Dipper Novizis Chase over two miles and five stadiums to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
“Lucinda (Russell) seems pretty intent on getting off now with Ahoy Senor and you have Bravemansgame (coached by Paul Nicholls) definitely running, and they’ll be racing Threeunderthrufive too.
“I’m just thinking about what might happen in the Chariot outside of My Drogo.
“There aren’t many high-quality chases over three miles, but on the other hand, should there be?”
Hales laughed: “We really have to be forced to challenge each other – and here I am trying to deflect Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor and pick a win, where maybe we should just throw our hat in the ring.”
Millers Bank seemed certain to win when Nicholls-coached Pic D’Orhy lost four outs to Newbury and with the one who stamped the form by taking Grade Two Noel Novizi ‘Chase at Ascot on Friday, Hales has full confidence that Millers Bank can bounce back.
“His jumps in Newbury rocked us a bit,” said his coach.
“At his debut Huntingdon, his jump was simply sublime.
“He was very cold in the top three at Newbury, then he jumped well and picked up the pace.
“Harry (Bannister) and I are in agreement: Paul’s horse fell and he was left in front and that was probably his weakness. He only had a little to learn and he was a little inexperienced.
“Since then he has studied a lot and he has been very good, and he studied this morning.
“He will certainly do three miles and have more chances to take even a better pace, but at the moment I’m still undecided.”