Henderson eyeing Caspian Caviar Gold Cup with improver Doitforthevillage

Doitforthevillage is set for a return to Cheltenham next month, with a tilt at the G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup on the second day of The International, Saturday, December 16 under consideration.

The G3 handicap chase, run over two miles and five furlongs on the New Course, is the feature over fences during the two-day meeting and carries an increased prize fund this year of £120,000, up £20,000 on 2016.

Doitforthevillage (Paul Henderson) has been an upward curve over the last 18 months, during which time he has won six of his 12 starts over fences and improved 34lb to a rating of 139.

The eight-year-old has run twice at Cheltenham so far this season, finishing sixth at The Showcase before recording a decisive two-length victory in the BetVictor Handicap Chase over two miles at The November Meeting on November 17.

Doitforthevillage has done most of winning over two miles, although his first chase success came over two miles and a half miles at Warwick in May 2016.

Henderson said: "Doitforthevillage has come out of The November Meeting fine and the plan is to head back to Cheltenham next month, where he will have a couple of options.

"There is the two-mile race [£30,000 Raymond Mould Handicap Chase] or the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and I think we will probably go for the big race, although he will have entries in both and we will make a definite decision nearer the time.

"Paddy [Brennan, jockey] thinks he will get the two miles and five furlongs. He has won over two and a half for me but that was in a much lesser grade when he was rated 105. The main thing with him is that he needs a good gallop as they can't go quick enough for him.

"My horses tend to improve and come on as they go along and I hope there might be a bit more improvement in him under the right conditions."

The first three home in the G3 BetVictor Gold Cup, the feature race at The November Meeting - Splash Of Ginge (Nigel Twiston-Davies), Starchitect (David Pipe) and Le Prezien (Paul Nicholls) - are likely to renew rivalries in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, with other stars such as Waiting Patiently (Malcolm Jefferson) also in line to run.

Entries for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup will be unveiled at noon on Wednesday, November 29, with the weights released a week later on Wednesday, December 6.

Also at The International on December 16, The New One (Nigel Twiston-Davies) will bid for a record-breaking fourth victory in the feature £130,000 Unibet International Hurdle over two miles and a furlong.

The popular nine-year-old matched the achievements of Relkeel (1997, 1998 & 1999) and Birds Nest (1977, 1978 & 1980) by winning the G2 contest for the third time last year, following up his victories in 2013 and 2014. He is after a seventh Cheltenham success.

The International starts on Friday, December 15, when the highlight is the £45,000 December Handicap Chase over three miles and two furlongs.