Bristol De Mai will make his reappearance in the Betfair Chase at Haydock after connections decided to give the Charlie Hall Chase this weekend a miss.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies showed his intent at aiming the flamboyant grey at the Merseyside showpiece on November 23 by deciding not to go north with him on Saturday.
Bristol De Mai took the Wetherby feature in 2017 on his way to winning Haydock’s Grade One showpiece for the first time when he beat Cue Card by 57 lengths.
The eight-year-old made his seasonal debut in the Betfair last autumn when he got the better of Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Native River by four lengths.
“He’s not in the Charlie Hall. He’s going straight to Haydock. Everything’s OK with him,” said Twiston-Davies.
The Naunton handler still hopes to win the Charlie Hall for a sixth time as he confirmed Ballyoptic to be on target for the Grade Two over three miles.
The nine-year-old showed his well-being when making a successful reappearance at Chepstow earlier this month.
Excellent performance – Ballyoptic wings the last to record a bloodless victory in his seasonal reappearance at @Chepstow_Racing under @samtwiston for @NigelTwistonDav… pic.twitter.com/86CeFOS3QI
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) October 12, 2019
“He did all right last time out so he’s going there,” he said.
Twiston-Davies also has his eyes on the Bet365 Hurdle, the main supporting race on the card, with Ballyandy, who steps up to three miles for the first time.
The eight-year-old shaped well when sixth in Chepstow’s Silver Trophy on his first start since he was third in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
“It’s his first chance at this trip so it will be interesting to see how he goes. We think he will be good,” he said.
Wetherby is not the only course Twiston-Davies is seeking big-race success this weekend as he is eyeing a raid on Ascot’s valuable Sodexo Gold Cup with Go Conquer.
The 10-year-old took the three-mile handicap chase in 2017 when trained by Jonjo O’Neill and was third for Twiston-Davies 12 months ago.
“He won it two years ago and was third last year so we’re having another go,” said Twiston-Davies.