Newbury preview: Wuff can win Brown Chamberlin Trophy nicely (15:45)
Eight runners go to post for the Brown Chamberlin Trophy at Newbury today (15:45), which remembers the excellent staying chaser who was a Newbury specialist that won the 1983 Hennessy Gold Cup and was also runner up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup to Burrough Hill Lad in 1984.
Medieval Chapel has taken a little bit of time to adjust to chasing, having not been particularly fluent on his first two starts at Leicester when beaten by Perfect Candidate Algernon Pazham, both useful performers.
He got back on track with an easy success at Fakenham when beating Like Minded, who hasn’t looked the most natural chaser. This does look his toughest task to date over fences and he will need to be at his best to be winning this.
Philip Hobbs runs two here with stable jockey Richard Johnson opting for The Skyfarmer over Tony Star. The Skyfarmer has been disappointing over fences on his three starts, in particular on his chase debut behind Puffin Billy at Ascot where he jumped terribly. He showed a bit more promise at Taunton before disappointing in fifth behind Stellar Notion at Kempton in what was a strong race.
If The Skyfarmer’s jumping holds up and the step up in distance suits, then he could improve, especially with better ground.
Tony Star is a second season novice, but won two starts ago when beating the ill-fated Theatre Queen in a competitive race at Ludlow over three miles only to then unseat Johnson last time out over course and distance. His profile is one of an inconsistent type and, with Johnson choosing The Skyfarmer, it appears he has been looked over.
Wuff is a likeable horse for Roger Brookhouse. He showed promise last season when winning twice over hurdles at Uttoxeter and over the fixed brush hurdles at Haydock in January before disappointing back at Haydock on Grand National Trial day, but he was worth forgiving as the ground was awful.
The same meeting a year later provided Wuff with his next run, making his chase debut where he looked to need the run. He has always looked like a real staying chaser in the making and, with that run at Haydock under his belt, he should have learnt plenty, so he has the most scope for improvement.
Horatio Hornblower chased Gold Cup winner Coneygree home when third back in November in the Fuller’s Pride Novices Chase at Newbury over half a mile shorter.
He won on Boxing Day at Towcester before not looking completely happy on Trials Day, when the ground was probably soft enough for him behind Generous Ransom in a race that looked strong at the time, and has been proven since with several winners to come out of it including Carole’s Destrier and Irish Cavalier. Three miles shouldn’t be any issue and the ground is a positive, so he should go close.
Desert Joe finally got off the mark over fences at Leicester last time out when getting the better of Azure Fly, who had beaten him at Newbury on their previous encounter. He will need to improve again whilst Strollawaynow is inconsistent and hard to predict.