Warwick preview: Classic Chase (15.35)
David Metcalf | January 15, 2016
Trainer Paul Nicholls has an excellent record in the Classic Chase, and Vivaldi Collonges looks to hold leading claims of providing him with another winner in this year’s renewal of the 3m 5f contest at Warwick (15.35).
The Dicheat handler has won three of the last 10 runnings, and saddled Hawke’s Point to victory 12 months ago.
In Vivaldi Collonges, he has an unexposed staying chaser who looked one to keep on the right side when scoring in the mud at Kelso last month.
The seven-year-old jumped well and raced sweetly throughout at the head of affairs before drawing clear three from home to win easing down by four lengths off a mark of 134.
It was a most taking performance, and although Vivaldi Collonges has been hit with an 8lb rise for that success he should have plenty more to offer after just four starts over fences.
The son of Dom Alco will also revel in the testing conditions and, with Sam Twiston-Davies in the saddle, everything looks in place for a huge run.
Punters will say a little Midnight Prayer
There are plenty of dangers in a wide open contest, and Midnight Prayer is one of the more interesting ones.
The gelding hails from the yard of Alan King, who has won the race twice, and had a progressive profile in the 2013/14 season when winning three times.
In the last of those successes, Midnight Prayer showed tremendous battling qualities to beat Shotgun Paddy by a neck in the 4m National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival off a mark of 139.
The 11-year-old has since had just two starts and endured a couple of lengthy spells on the sidelines, but shaped well on return to action at Newbury in November when a not knocked about fourth of 16 to Aloomomo.
It was an effort which suggested Midnight Prayer retained plenty of ability, and he has since been dropped 2lb to a mark of 135.
That is 4lb lower than when last successful, and makes the son of Midnight Legend a massive player from a handicapping perspective on the pick of his form.