Sport Horse Racing

Monday 19 February 2018

Take chance on Theatre to rock Deep Purple

Keith Hamer

Evan Williams believes Deep Purple has plenty on his plate in his bid to win the Peterborough Chase for the second year running at Huntingdon tomorrow.

However, Williams reports the nine-year-old in fine shape since his seasonal debut in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, when he was third to Nacarat.

"He's very well, very fresh and he's had a good preparation for the race. It's just going to be a very difficult race. It's very competitive," said the trainer.

"We are going into this race thinking it is as difficult, perhaps even more so than last year. He's in good form and he`ll go out there and give his running. We`ll need a little bit of luck on the day and fingers crossed, he can put up a good performance."

Deep Purple's 11 rivals include Breedsbreeze, whose owner Jim Lewis has won this race six times with Edredon Bleu (four), Best Mate and Impek.

However, the Paul Nicholls-trained Breedsbreeze will not carry half as much confidence as those did as he is on the comeback trail following 22 months on the sidelines.

"It's his first time back, but Paul has been very pleased with him," said Lewis. "You never know after such a long time off, though. Some of them come back and others are never the same again, so we'll just have see.

"Paul wanted to start him off at two and a half miles having been off for so long and we'll see where we go from there."

Several horses have been declared elsewhere over the weekend, but one horse who will definitely be turning up at Huntingdon should the re-arranged meeting go ahead is Master Medic.

Trainer Tim Walford is keen to get a run into the nine-year-old, formerly trained by Robert and Sally Alner, as he has been absent since being pulled up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton last December.

"The horse might be a little under-fit. Louise (Alner) does him and I feed him and I know he's eating right now," said the Yorkshire trainer.

"He's had a few minor niggly muscle problems, but we seem to be on top of those. If the weather had been better we'd have got a bit more work into him, but he may be better that way.

"He will be up against some higher-rated horses, but we need to run him. He hasn't run for nearly a year, not through leg trouble or anything like that, it's just been silly little niggles."

In the circumstances, it might pay to take a chance on Nicky Henderson's Riverside Theatre who's effectively on trial for the King George at Kempton.

A talented novice chaser last season, the six-year-old can prove equal to the step-up in class provided the ground doesn't get too soft. If rain were to arrive, Racing Demon would be a solid each-way alternative.

Henderson and jockey Barry Geraghty should definitely be on the mark in the mares' novice chase, in which Topsham Belle looks a decent wager to overturn likely favourite Sway.

Emma Lavelle's Court By Surprise was very impressive on his debut under Rules at Hereford last month and despite the presence of the well-touted Skint and the promising Muldoon's Picnic, it will take a good one to stop him following up in the two and a half mile novice hurdle.

Irish Independent

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