2015 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Dodging Bullets is likely to be stepped up in trip this winter according to Paul Nicholls. The 8YO was sensational during his Champion Chase winning season but he failed to replicate that success last term and it now appears as if he has run his last race down at 2m.
Having missed the first part of last season, Dodging Bullets returned in February only to get beaten by Top Gamble in the Game Spirit Chase and he didn't fare any better in the defence of his crown at Cheltenham. He was beaten a long way out when only 7th in the Champion Chase and in truth he looked to be outpaced by some younger horses and with even more competition likely to be in evidence at the minimum trip this winter, a decision has been made on his future.
Sam Twiston-Davies indicated after that race that he might want a step up in trip and that now appears to be the case with Paul Nicholls confirming his plans at his recent owners day. The Champion Trainer also indicated he could well get an entry to the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day which would be a big jump up to 3m for the horse.
Betway currently have Dodging Bullets as a 50/1 shot in their King George VI Chase betting market and how performs in the first part of the season is likely to attract plenty of attention. The 1965 Chase over 2m3f at Ascot in November could be a nice stepping stone for Dodging Bullets with Nicholls having won that race with Al Ferof and Master Minded in recent years although firm plans are still to be made.
Long term plans for Dodging Bullets are yet to be made but the Ryanair Chase looks the most likely Cheltenham target at this stage with the flat bred son of Dubawi currently a general 25/1 shot for that contest.