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A bit older and a bit whiter but Smad's almost as good as ever
25 Nov 2017 | Racingpost.com 

Christy 1965 Chase | 2m5f | Grade 2 | ITV/RUK

It is a day to celebrate some of jumping's great golden oldies. At Ascot it is a day to celebrate one of jumping's great officially grey but actually white golden oldies.

Before Cue Card bids for a fourth Betfair Chase triumph at Haydock, and at a time when Sire De Grugy is still over an hour from running at Ascot, the royal racecourse plays host to the thoroughly smashing Smad Place, the headline act in the Christy 1965 Chase.

Racegoers will not miss him. It is perfectly possible the other horses will not pass him.

For while last season came and went without a victory for the horse who during the previous campaign had captured the Hennessy and the Cotswold Chase, the first race of his latest preparation resulted in a stirring success in Aintree's Old Roan Chase.

With Wayne Hutchinson once again in the plate, the ten-year-old faces eight opponents in a Christy 1965 Chase that this season lacks a superstar but is all the more competitive as a result.

"He looks very nearly as good as ever at ten," said Smad Place's trainer Alan King.

"He's come out of Aintree in good order and we've aimed him at Ascot rather than asking him to carry a huge weight back at Newbury next Saturday.

"He stays well but he had shown good form at around this trip even before the Old Roan. This is a Grade 2 and it will be a strong race but he goes well at Ascot."

What they say

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Josses Hill and Top Notch
Daryl Jacob has gone to Haydock, so Nico de Boinville is riding Top Notch this time, only really because he has a run under his belt and that has to be an advantage. He looks big, but he always looks big. Josses Hill also looks big and he does always come on for his first run. He's very well, though.

Philip Hobbs, trainer of Royal Regatta
Things aren't getting any easier for him and he's wrong at the weights with a few of these. He's in very good form, though, and he likes Ascot. He actually ran well for a long way at Aintree as well.

Paul Nicholls, trainer of Frodon
He's got it all to do but he keeps running good races. He's not well handicapped so he's got to run in these races and take his chance.

Colin Tizzard, trainer of Sizing Granite
We couldn't get anything out of him last year until the end of the season and then he jumped badly at Chepstow first time up. He's had his back sorted out since and is working and jumping beautifully at the moment. If he turns up like he did at Punchestown in the spring he'll make them all go.

Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Flying Angel
I hope he has another good race in him and he seems in good form. He was a bit disappointing last time but he doesn't ever seem to run two races alike. He's got the talent and he's in good nick.

Tom George, trainer of Double Shuffle
He likes slightly better ground and he's got to step up on what I've seen, but I think he's an improving horse.

Kerry Lee, trainer of Top Gamble
He's in great form and comes out well at the weights. My slight concern is the ground. His best form is over two miles on heavy ground but I'm hoping the longer distance will counteract the quicker ground. Of all his options I think it's the best one for him.

 

 
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