Chac team floored by Eider loss
Chris Bealby is likely to wait until Cheltenham Festival week to get Chac Du Cadran back on the course after the Betfred Eider was lost to the snow at Newcastle on Saturday.
- Related Content
The valuable marathon handicap had been the season-long target for the seven-year-old, who won the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick on his last start.
The John Oaksey National Hunt Chase at the Festival on March 13, the Betfred Midlands Grand National and a novice handicap chase at Uttoxeter on March 16 are the three races the Lincolnshire trainer will consider.
"It's difficult, because the Eider was the main aim all season. We are going to struggle to find a 50 grand race that he gets into with such a chance," said Bealby.
"In the short term there isn't a lot. He's in at Cheltenham in the four-mile John Oaksey amateur chase but it isn't a handicap so there will be horses who are much higher rated than him in there.
"He would be meeting them on worse terms than if it was a handicap. There's the Midlands National at Uttoxeter at the end of Cheltenham week.
"That will be a stronger race than the Eider which was a 0-150 and that is an open handicap. If anything above 152 goes for it we are out of the handicap.
"I think I will leave him in at Cheltenham until the last minute and have him in at Uttoxeter and see what that looks like. There's also three-mile novice handicap at Uttoxeter the same day.
"Three miles might be too short for him, but it's a 0-135 and if it's soft ground it might be worth a look."
(reopens) The Midlands National is one of the races Philip Kirby will look at for Cool Operator, who was also strongly-fancied for the Eider.
"He has a couple of entries in Cheltenham, he's in the cross-country race and the Kim Muir," said the Middleham trainer.
"They are possibles, but maybe the Midlands National. That's a strong possibility as well.
"I would imagine it will be one of those three.
"It's a shame Newcastle was off. There's not going to be many times we've got fancied horses in big races, so it was a bit of a sickener."