Trainer Charlie Mann is optimistic that a step up to two miles and five furlongs will play into the hands of Moon Over Miami in the £60,000 Grade Three Betchronicle.com Trophy Chase (2.05pm) on Festival Trials Day, Saturday, January 24.The eight-year-old, a Grade Two scorer over hurdles at Cheltenham in November, 2006, proved himself as one of the leading novice two-mile chasers last season with victory in the Grade Two Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase at The Open in November prior finishing sixth in The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase at The Festival in March.
Moon Over Miami began the current season with a creditable sixth in a competitive Listed handicap chase at Ascot at the start of November, before finishing fourth in the paddypower.com Handicap Chase at The Open. On his latest appearance, he was runner-up to Santa’s Son when carrying top-weight in the skybet.com Castleford Handicap Chase at Wetherby on December 27.
Mann commented: “Moon Over Miami holds an entry in the Betchronicle.com Trophy Chase and he’s more than likely to run in the race. He’s also been entered at Doncaster on the same day, but I would prefer to see him go round Cheltenham once more. “We will be stepping him up to two miles and five furlongs for the first time because he ran as though he needed further when he was second at Wetherby and there’s also the fact that he loves Cheltenham. “He’s been running well in handicap chases and he’s been dropped a little bit in the weights, which would help, but I think that he has been crying out for a step up in trip. He loves soft ground and I am hopeful that he will run his race. “He has been entered in both the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Ryanair Chase (at The Festival in March). Saturday’s race will give us an indication as to which way to go with him and he’ll also be given some entries in a few of the handicaps at The Festival.”
Moon Over Miami is set to carry 10st 10lb in the Betchronicle.com Trophy Chase. The weights are currently headed by this season’s Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup scorer Imperial Commander, stablemate Knowhere, who took the Grade Two Letheby & Christopher Chase on Festival Trials Day 12 months ago, and last year’s Racing Post Plate winner Mister McGoldrick, who are all set to carry 11st 12lb. Other notable entries include Stan (11st 10lb), who has twice been successful over this course and distance in the Grade Two Mears Group Silver Trophy Chase Limited Handicap in April and more recently in the Grade Three skybet.com Handicap Chase on New Year’s Day, the J P McManus-owned pair of the 2006 Jewson Novices Handicap Chase winner Reveillez (10st 8lb) and Irish Champion Hurdle victor Foreman (10st 8lb), as well as last year’s winner Maljimar (10st 8lb).