Case making plans for Midnight Jazz
Midnight Jazz could be given a Cheltenham Festival target next March by Edgcote trainer Ben Case.
The six year-old was beaten only half a length by Stephanie Frances in Saturday’s OLBG.com Listed Hurdle at Wetherby, just failing to haul in Dan Skelton’s winner.
Stephanie Frances finished eighth behind Vroum Vroum Mag in this year’s OLBG Mares Hurdle, off a rating of 138 and Case believes Midnight Jazz might now be raised a pound or two from a mark of 135 which makes such a notion realistic.
The Wardington Gate Farm handler said: “I have been thinking of sending her chasing but the Cheltenham race is very much an option. Midnight Jazz was third in the Wetherby race last year so perhaps we will go back there in 12 months time looking for a 3-2-1!”
Meanwhile, Case was far from disheartened by the performances of his other Saturday runners Croco Bay, Crookstown and First Drift.
Croco Bay, a faller at Cheltenham on his previous run, was unsettled by a mistake at Ascot and tailed off in the race won by Quite By Chance.
But Case added: “I have had a look at the race again and don’t really think the mistake was all that bad. The horse is normally a sound jumper.”
Crookstown was still in contention at Wetherby when an error stopped his momentum at a critical stage of the race.
Fellow Edgcote trainer Alex Hales is considering the StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham for Minellaforleisure.
The eight-year-old made his seasonal reappearance at Ascot last Saturday and could run in one of the weekend’s feature races at the Open meeting at Prestbury Park.
The weights were unveiled on Wednesday for the feature contest at The Open, Saturday’s £160,000 BetVictor Gold Cup.
Jointly-heading the weights for the Grade 3 BetVictor Gold Cup are recent Group 2 Charlie Hall Chase scorer Irish Cavalier, trained by Rebecca Curtis and 20/1 with BetVictor, and Top Gamble, trained by Kerry Lee, who landed Group 2 prizes at Newbury and Fairyhouse last season.
One of the three market leaders at 10/1 with BetVictor is More Of That (Jonjo O’Neill), winner of the 2014 World Hurdle at The Festival and successful on two of his three starts over fences last season.
They race at Warwick on Friday where Chipping Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon has a couple of possibilities.
Castafiore has an entry in the Willmott Dixon Supply Chain Juvenile Maiden Hurdle and Sarpech could line up in the Willmott Dixon Supply Chain Handicap Hurdle.