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Hold Em on Trial for RSA Chase

Monday 12th January 2009

Trainer Keith Goldsworthy is hoping that exciting novices Hold Em and Shenanigan can further enhance their Festival claims on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on Saturday, January 24, 2009. Hold Em is set to continue in handicap company following a staying-on third in the Grade Three skybet.com Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, and the seven-year-old will be aimed at either the £25,000 Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase (1.30pm) or the £60,000 Grade Three betchronicle.com Trophy Chase (2.05pm), which are both run over two miles and five furlongs.

The chaser was also third on his three previous starts, having been hampered by a faller in the Grade One Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, while he filled the same spot in Grade Two events at Newbury and Wincanton in November. Last season, Hold Em was second in the Grade Two Classic Novices’ Hurdle on Festival Trials Day and returned to Cheltenham to finish ninth behind Fiveforthree in the Grade One Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival. South Pembrokeshire-based Goldsworthy commented: “Hold Em will be entered in the betchronicle.com Trophy Chase. He will also be given an entry in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase, but we are leaning towards the former at the moment because it is a Grade Three and the prize money looks too good to miss.

“I was pleased with his run at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, especially against some quality opposition. The ground was possibly a bit too soft for him which affected his jumping but he did come back into the race on the home straight where the best ground was. He needs good ground, especially in graded races. “He’s come out of his two runs in quick succession over the Christmas period in great order. He’s a tough horse and he had all summer off. We brought him back quietly and he seems none the worse for wear at the moment. “We have run him over various trips this season but he gets three miles on decent ground so his target at The Festival will be the RSA Chase.” Goldsworthy is also set to be represented on Festival Trials Day by the unexposed mare Shenanigan, who is being considered for the £30,000 Grade Two Classic Novices’ Hurdle, run over an extended two and a half miles.

“I was pleased with his run at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, especially against some quality opposition. The ground was possibly a bit too soft for him which affected his jumping but he did come back into the race on the home straight where the best ground was. He needs good ground, especially in graded races. “He’s come out of his two runs in quick succession over the Christmas period in great order. He’s a tough horse and he had all summer off. We brought him back quietly and he seems none the worse for wear at the moment. “We have run him over various trips this season but he gets three miles on decent ground so his target at The Festival will be the RSA Chase.”

Goldsworthy is also set to be represented on Festival Trials Day by the unexposed mare Shenanigan, who is being considered for the £30,000 Grade Two Classic Novices’ Hurdle, run over an extended two and a half miles. The eight-year-old was third behind subsequent Ladbroke Hurdle second Belcantista on her racecourse debut in a novice hurdle at Exeter in mid-November and followed up with another third in a maiden hurdle at Newbury on December 17, before going on to victory in a mares’ novice hurdle at Taunton on December 30, when she defeated Over Sixty, who had previously been second in the Grade Two Sharp Novices’ Hurdle at The Open.

The eight-year-old was third behind subsequent Ladbroke Hurdle second Belcantista on her racecourse debut in a novice hurdle at Exeter in mid-November and followed up with another third in a maiden hurdle at Newbury on December 17, before going on to victory in a mares’ novice hurdle at Taunton on December 30, when she defeated Over Sixty, who had previously been second in the Grade Two Sharp Novices’ Hurdle at The Open.

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