Tom George shifts attention to Wincanton with Double Shuffle

    Tom George is hoping the switch from Wetherby to Wincanton will pay dividends for Double Shuffle in the Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase on Saturday.
  • Friday 10 November 2017
  • News

Tom George is hoping the switch from Wetherby to Wincanton will pay dividends for Double Shuffle in the Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase on Saturday.

Double Shuffle was a late withdrawal from the Charlie Hall Chase as the ground was unsuitable in West Yorkshire last weekend, resulting in the seven-year-old being rerouted to Somerset.

George's inmate has had the benefit of a run this season, having finished second to Romain De Senam at Chepstow last month, and the Slad handler has given conditional jockey Ciaran Gethings the ride to reduce the horse's weight by 3lb.

"The ground went wrong for him up at Wetherby, which is why he didn't run there," said George.

"He's in good form and we're taking 3lb off, which will help his cause. Ciaran Gethings rides and I'm looking forward to a good run."

Neil Mulholland reports Southfield Royale and Pilgrims Bay in prime shape for their return to action.

He said: "Southfield Royale is fresh and well. Hopefully this trip will suit him better. I don't think he stayed in the Scottish National.

"Pilgrims Bay is in good form. It's a nice race for him and I'm hoping he can do his best."

Ian Williams decided to take a chance on running London Prize in the Unibet Elite Hurdle when he saw there were not too many entries for the limited handicap.

London Prize was last seen finishing second to handicap snip Withhold in the Cesarewitch.

And while this race is over a shorter distance, the Alvechurch handler is hoping that soft ground will make it a sufficient test of stamina.

"The Elite Hurdle wasn't originally on the agenda but when there was just a small entry, we decided to put him in," Williams told At The Races.

"In the Cesarewitch, Withhold was better handicapped than we were. Take him out, and we were a good winner.

"The trip is a concern but I'm sure London Prize will prove better handicapped when he's stepped up to two and a half miles, but the ground looks as though it's going to be on the slow side. That should, hopefully, enable him to be quick enough.

"He's won over two miles round Sandown and he ran very well in the Scottish Champion Hurdle. He's in great form and we're looking forward to a big run from him."

Alan King hopes to cash in on the rain that has fallen with Coeur De Lion as he bids for back-to-back victories following the success of Sceau Royal 12 months ago.

The Barbury Castle trainer told "It was a bit too firm for him when he ran on the Flat last month and, though he did work well on Tuesday, he is plenty high enough in the handicap and will eventually want two and a half miles."

Just three horses line up for the Grade Two Rising Stars' Novices' Chase, but it looks a trappy contest.

Mulholland saddles Kalondra, who was a short-priced favourite when making a winning start over fences at Sedgefield last month.

The Wiltshire handler said: "He's come out of Sedgefield well. He jumped well and, fingers crossed, he can run a big race."

Taking on Kalondra are Paul Nicholls' Modus, who struck first time over the bigger obstacles at Bangor, and Colin Tizzard's Valhalla , twice placed over fences last month.

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