There has been a busy schedule of top class racing over the Christmas period as the weather finally relented across the UK and Ireland, and perhaps one of the most exciting and impressive wins came from Ghizao who won the Bathwick Tyres Supports Heroes Andover Novices' Chase at Newbury. It was a top class renewal of the race as it gave the runners the chance to have a race but there was no doubting the winner who was slashed into favouritism for the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Paul Nicholls has unearthed another gem in Ghizao and he will now head straight to the Festival fresh and ready to run a big race with connections saying he should improve for the run. There was a deep fog on the course at Newbury making it hard to follow the race but he comfortably beat the impressive Captain Chris who had 10lbs in hand, while the exciting Surfing for Nicky Henderson was back in third place.
The Bathwick is not always a strong renewal but this year it seemed to be particularly loaded and punters and bookmakers were quick to take note of the run. Ghizao was a cut across the board for the Arkle and could well start favourite on the day at Cheltenham with Nicholls confirming the run at Newbury was his last before the Festival. The closest challenger to Ghizao in the Arkle Chase betting at the moment looks like being Finian's Rainbow who is another star from the Nicky Henderson yard. He won so well at Newbury in November in the Rooney/Hall Novices' Chase when beating Hell's Bay into second, who has since gone onto frank the form with a win over Medermit recently. It is shaping up to be a cracking renewal of the Arkle Trophy this season and at this stage it would be difficult to chooes between Ghizao and Finian's Rainbow who are currently leading the way in the ante-post market.