Kim Bailey weighs her options for prolific winner First Flow – which includes the Clarence House Chase in Ascot.
The durable eight-year-old landed at Wetherby’s Castleford Chase on Sunday in typical game fashion, never looking likely to win until near home.
It was a fifth consecutive victory, bringing his fencing record to six wins in 10 starts and therefore fully deserving of a class increase.
“Oddly, there are actually quite a few races to suit him by the end of February,” Bailey said.
“There’s a handicap at Sandown, the Grade One at Ascot and there are races at Newbury and Doncaster too – so there are three or four to consider.
“He loves heavy terrain. But Wetherby has really been an amazing performance – I doubt the terrain has ever been so bad there, because (jockey) David Bass said it made Ffos Las look great! “
First Flow appeared to be struggling at various stages, but eventually got back to work.
Bailey added: “It wasn’t great to watch, but it was a phenomenal performance – especially considering he was playing a catch because the leader (Maracudja) had such a flying start.
“I thought it was forbidden – if he had won, I could have complained!
“He’s won five in a row, and he’s a complete monster.
“I’m so happy for his owner Tony Solomons because he’s been with me since my second season of training, and the last horse he had with me was Harry Topper. He loves it.
First Flow is one of 12 entries for the Betting Exchange Clarence House Chase Matchbook, with last year’s winner Defi Du Seuil in the mix to defend his title after his seasonal return to Cheltenham in November.
The defending political scientist hunter is one of two contenders for Paul Nicholls with Duc Des Genievres, and Jessica Harrington is also potentially doubles with Sizing Pottsie and Impact Factor.
Benatar, Bun Doran, Esprit Du Large, Pennant D’Estruval, Le Patriote and Riders Onthe Storm complete the list of contenders.