UXIZANDRE will miss the Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham and instead line up in the Shloer Chase a day later.
Alan King’s six-year-old, owned by JP McManus, rounded off a fine novice campaign over fences with a Grade One victory at Aintree in April. He then finished fourth when favourite upon his return to action in last month’s Old Roan Chase .
Uxizandre was joint top weight for the Gold Cup, but King feels Sunday’s Listed event at Cheltenham is more suitable.
His task has also been made significantly less demanding following the news Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sire De Grugy will miss his intended reappearance after suffering lameness yesterday.
“He goes for the Shloer,” said King. “It’s a shame about Sire De Grugy, but we were going to go there [Shloer Chase] anyway.
“We’ll have a try.”
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With Uxizandre set to defect and the other top weight, Rajdhani Express, ruled out on Tuesday, the weights for the Gold Cup are likely to be headed by last year’s winner Johns Spirit and the Nicky Henderson-trained Oscar Whisky.
The dual Aintree Hurdle winner struck twice over fences at Cheltenham last season and also claimed the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown. Oscar Whisky, who, remarkably, will be having his first start in a handicap, was runner-up behind Uxizandre at Aintree in April.
Owner Dai Walters said: “He’s in good form, he worked well on Tuesday and we’ve decided to let him have a go on Saturday.”
At Kempton today, Spring Loaded can make it a course and distance double in the Betdaq £200 Games Bonus Nursery Handicap.
Paul D’Arcy’s charge has shown his best form to date on the Polytrack, losing his maiden tag over six furlongs back in August before finishing third and winning again in his two other attempts at the Sunbury venue.
Spring Loaded was perhaps a little short of room when third but made no mistake when seeing off Jaganory by just over a length last time.
He found plenty for pressure on that occasion, despite racing off an increased mark of 75, and while a further 7lb rise is far from ideal, Spring Loaded was well in control last time and won with a bit left in the tank.
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