Katenko aiming to continue winning streak for Venetia Williams
Venetia Williams has her horses in outstanding form and sent out four winners on Saturday. She is hoping that Katenko can justify boost his prospects for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National when he lines up in the Denman Chase this weekend.
Injury prevented the eight-year-old from running in the Gold Cup last season after an impressive win in heavy ground on Cheltenham Trials Day. After falling in the Hennessy and running moderately at Aintree, he showed signs of a return to form when a close fourth in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock.
Trainer Kim Bailey is anxious to make the most of the prevailing ground conditions for the mud-loving Harry Topper. The son of Sir Harry Lewis won the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in November before a lack-lustre performance at Sandown the following month.
His jumping was still a little sketchy in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham last month but he delighted his trainer by running on late to finish third to The Giant Bolster. He would have overhauled the favourite Rocky Creek to take second in another couple of strides.
Al Ferof is expected to go off favourite after a respectable third behind stable companion Silviniaco Conti in the King George VI Chase at Kempton. He is also on course for the Gold Cup but Saturday’s race should give a better indication of his prospects of lasting the extended three and a quarter mile trip.
Nicky Henderson has withdrawn leading Grand National hope Triolo D’Alene from two recent contests due to the heavy ground. The Hennessy Gold Cup winner could be his best chance yet of landing the Aintree prize and is unlikely to be risked if the ground deteriorates further.
Menorah, Highland Lodge and Vino Griego all pulled up last time while Walkon unseated his rider at Aintree in October. Third Intention could represent Colin Tizzard but Tidal Bay is likely to head across the water for the Irish Hennessy on Sunday.