Unioniste up for Challenge

  • Last Updated: December 10 2012, 17:40 GMT

Owner John Hales hopes Unioniste can overcome his relative inexperience in Saturday's Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup.

John Hales: Hoping for big run at Cheltenham on Saturday

Trained by Paul Nicholls, the son of Dom Alco is set to bid to become the first four-year-old to win the race despite holding an entry in the novice chase at the same track on Friday.

Unioniste ran well in defeat at The Open on his latest start, coming home third behind Dynaste in the Steel Plate and Sections Novices' Chase but could race from six pounds out of the handicap on Saturday.

Hales said: "Unioniste is in the novices' chase on Friday but our preferred option for him is the Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup.

"I thought he ran an excellent race behind Dynaste last time and we have no hesitation in running him in this race because he jumps like a veteran.

"I would be quite confident of a big run and if the ground is on the soft side that won't bother him either being by Dom Alco."

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