Kim Bailey is looking forward to getting Vinndication back into racecourse action as planned in the 888Sport Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown on Saturday.
The Gloucestershire handler has had this Grade One over two and a half miles in mind for the six-year-old after he took his 100 per cent record over fences to two at Ascot six weeks ago.
The timing is ideal as there will be just under six weeks to the Cheltenham Festival, where Vinndication holds entries in the RSA and JLT Novices’ Chases.
Bailey said: “I am very happy with Vinndication since his last run at Ascot, he has had plenty of time to recover from it and it has always been the plan from when he went past the post to run at Sandown.
“Comparing him at home to the racecourse is a tricky one as he is a very laid back individual. He wouldn’t give you a huge amount of encouragement at home by what he does – he does it in his own way.”
All of Vinndication’s wins over jumps have been on soft ground, but Bailey is hoping to learn a little more about his preferred conditions at the weekend.
He said: “The ground is going to be the 100,000 dollar question and we will find that out this weekend. If they are putting frost covers down it will obviously make it softer or tackier.
“I have always said he is a horse that goes on soft ground but if you watch his action at home, he has got a very good ground action so I don’t know.
“I think it’s most probably a case of his previous opposition has been slowed down by soft ground where he has been able to handle it. So we will find out an awful lot on Saturday.”
Bailey explained why he did not run Vinndication in one of the novice hurdles at Cheltenham last year after his victory in the Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle in February.
“He was a very immature horse last year, and when he came back from his race at Huntingdon he had a touch of sore shins and you certainly can’t go to Cheltenham with sore shins or even attempt to,” he said.
“You have got to gallop downhill which puts more pressure on him and I just felt he wasn’t ready for it.”