Friday 23 February 2018

Bailey eyes raid on Lexus for rising star Harry Topper

Thomas Kelly

Kim Bailey is considering a trip to Leopardstown for Charlie Hall winner Harry Topper.

According to the Lambourn handler, the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas is the obvious target for his improving chaser, which has shown a liking for soft ground.

"It's not definite, but it's a race that might suit him quite well," said Bailey. "He only ran in a bumper two years ago so he's come a long way in a short time and I don't want to go chasing a big handicap with top-weight at this stage."

First Lieutenant is a likely Lexus opponent for Harry Topper, but the Mouse Morris-trained gelding could first head for the Betfair Chase at Haydock following his dismal run at Down Royal on Saturday.


Placed in last season's Champion Chase – as well as the Hennessy, Lexus, Ryanair and Punchestown Gold Cup – the eight-year-old enjoyed his day in the sun in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree's Grand National meeting.

The Michael O'Leary-owned gelding was beaten at odds-on on his seasonal return at Punchestown last month, but was expected to strip fitter for his return to Down Royal at the weekend. However, he trailed home a well-beaten fourth of six runners and Morris was at a loss to explain his abject display.

"He was disappointing on the day, but we can't find anything wrong with him," Morris said. "We haven't given up the ghost yet and we'll probably go to Haydock for the Betfair. I want to get another run in between now and Christmas."

Connections of Dynaste have yet to decide in which of two big races this month to give the talented young chaser his seasonal debut.

David Pipe admits he has no preference between the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 16 and the Betfair Chase at Haydock a week later.

"Dynaste is okay," said the trainer. "It will either be the Paddy Power or the Betfair. I will speak to his owner and see which way."

Irish Independent

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