Knocknanuss can defend his Plumpton territory
A rare international challenge will descend on Plumpton tomorrow, but home hope Knocknanuss can put up a stout and successful defence of his Sussex territory.
The big-money bonus potentially on offer to the winner of the Follow At The Races On Twitter Novices' Chase has attracted a high-profile contender from both France and Ireland.
Between them, by the time they get to post, Guillaume Macaire's prolific five-year-old Master Dino and Gordon Elliott's Cheltenham Festival runner-up Glenloe will have travelled around 1,000 miles for the privilege - from France's Atlantic coast and Co Meath respectively. By contrast, Knocknanuss will have clocked up just under 20 from Gary Moore's yard at Lower Beeding. It is a moot point whether the nine-year-old's journey time of just half-an-hour gives him an edge on his rivals as they bid to give themselves a shot at the bonus payment should they win here and then do so again in any race at Cheltenham in March.
What is not in doubt, however, is Knocknanuss' relevant experience. Formerly trained in Kanturk, Co Cork, by Michael Winters, the son of Beneficial won on his sole point-to-point outings as a youngster.
Knocknanuss has won his last two novice chases by a combined 38 lengths - most recently winning at Newbury last November.
Meanwhile, Emma Doyle enjoyed victory in her first ride aboard father Tim's 20/1 outsider Northern Surprise in the one-mile handicap at Dundalk last night.