Neil King is looking forward to giving Milansbar the chance to become the first horse to win back-to-back renewals of the McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick.
The evergreen 12-year-old is one of 25 entries for Saturday’s Grade Three contest, won in 2017 by subsequent Grand National hero One For Arthur.
After signing off last season with a respectable fifth in the Aintree marathon, Milansbar filled the same position on his return to action in last month’s London National at Sandown.
King confirmed Bryony Frost, victorious 12 months ago, will be back on board if available this weekend.
“It is very much the plan to go back to Warwick, and it has been one of his main targets all season – we are looking forward to going there on Saturday,” he said.
“He is Bryony’s ride, and she will ride if Paul Nicholls doesn’t need her elsewhere. If not we would look at Jack Andrews if he can do the weight, or Wayne Hutchinson might get the call-up.
“He is a lovely, big, strong horse – so carrying that bit of extra weight compared to last year shouldn’t be a problem.
“We would have preferred a bit of rain, but that is the same for everyone.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies, who claimed the race back in 2005 with Baron Windrush, is one of three trainers who could be double-handed this time – after entering Cogry and Callet Mad.
Neil Mulholland may be represented by recent Newbury scorer Carole’s Destrier and Impulsive Star – while Colin Tizzard, who landed the 2012 renewal with Hey Big Spender, is responsible for the entries of last season’s Topham winner Ultragold and Sizing Codelco.
Recent Grade Two scorer Rocky’s Treasure, from the yard of Kim Bailey, is one of two horses – along with the the Paul Nicholls-trained Ibis Du Rheu – that also holds entries earlier on the card in the McCoy Contractors 2019 Construction News Award Finalist Hampton Novices’ Chase.
Ten-time champion trainer Nicholls also has Secret Investor engaged in the Listed prize, while Dan Skelton has entered both Crucial Role and Molly The Dolly.
Ok Corral is the sole entry from the Nicky Henderson yard – while last-time-out Exeter winner White Moon could bid to give Dorset trainer Tizzard a first win in the race.
After making an impressive debut under rules at the track last month, Birchdale could bid to follow in the hoofprints of stablemate Mr Whipped and give Seven Barrows master Henderson successive victories in the Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle.
The Philip Hobbs-trained Tidal Flow, two from two over hurdles, also features in the Grade Two contest – as does the Fergal O’Brien-trained Coolanly, who was a winner at the same level at Cheltenham in November.