• Racing/
  • Finians Ready For Return

Amlin 1965 Chase (Grade 2) 2m 3f

  • (4yo+, 2m 3f, Class 1, 4 runners)
  • Winner £28,475 2nd £10,685 3rd £5,350 4th £2,665 5th £1,340 6th £670
  • Going: Heavy
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 5m 0.70s
  • Off time: 14:14:42
Full result
Result 14:10 Ascot
Pos Horse Distance/th> Odds
1st 5 Captain Chris 7/2
  • Last Updated: November 23 2012, 17:24 GMT

Nicky Henderson has declared himself much happier with Finian's Rainbow heading into the seasonal return of the champion chaser than he was 12 months ago.

Finian's Rainbow (R): Ascot headline act
Finian's Rainbow (R): Ascot headline act

Henderson's charge won a thrilling renewal of the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March before following up over two and a half miles in the Melling Chase at Aintree, and faces just four rivals in the Amlin 1965 Chase.

Henderson said: "I wasn't happy with him this time last year, but he's been a completely different horse this time. He's in good form, I just hope the ground doesn't get too sticky.

"I just want to get him started."

Paul Nicholls' Ghizao returned to form with a victory at Kempton earlier this month and steps back up to Grade Two company.

Ghizao bounced back to winning form on his seasonal bow, but part-owner Andy Stewart is under no illusions about the task he will face in Berkshire.

However, the eight-year-old managed to run Finian's Rainbow to two lengths in the Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree in 2011.

Stewart said: "It's a very competitive race and we'd be up against it with Finian's Rainbow and Captain Chris.

"He's fresh and well, though, and he won on soft at Kempton, but I think he would have a lot to do against the champion chaser.

"I don't really know the value of the Kempton form, Ruby (Walsh) said it was just a school really, so he's well enough.

"We gave him a breathing operation after last season and he's come back well.

"He looked like being top class at one point and wasn't beaten far by Finian's Rainbow so he will take his chance and we will see whether he's a handicapper or something better."

The Nick Williams-trained For Non Stop tries to supplement his outstanding Old Roan Chase victory at Aintree last month.

Williams expects For Non Stop to find this a tough ask as he is rated 11lb inferior to Finian's Rainbow, but will have just 4lb in hand under the race conditions.

He must also concede 6lb to Captain Chris, despite both sitting on an official mark of 162.

He said: "It's a very strong race. We are not at all well in (at the weights) with Finian's Rainbow and Captain Chris in terms of official ratings so I think we're up against it.

"The trip is right for him and he is fit and well but we are just not favoured by the weights.

"The fact he's had a run should help him - that must be an advantage - while the soft ground shouldn't be too much of a problem for him."

Captain Chris represents Philip Hobbs, while Alan Jones' Quincy Des Pictons is the outsider of the group.

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