The talented young chaser Calett Mad heads a quality 10 entries for Wetherby’s Grade 2 totepool Towton Novices’ Chase live on Sky Racing 1 on Saturday night.
The Towton Novices’ Chase has been won by some top-class chasers since the inaugural run in 1996 when the three-mile contest was won by subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Mr Mulligan. Last year’s renewal went to Blaklion, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, who went on to win the Grade One RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on his next start.
Twiston-Davies has a major chance of adding to that success with Calett Mad who has won two from three over fences since arriving from France. The five-year-old, a half-brother to the very useful chaser Ar Mad, was runner-up to Fox Appeal on his only other British start in a handicap chase at Ludlow in December.
Anthony Bromley, racing manager for Callett Mad’s owners, revealed: “He is also entered in the Scilly Isles at Sandown but the owners have Top Notch in that race and the plan is go to Wetherby with Calett Mad. He has entries in the RSA and the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March and hopefully Wetherby can give us a springboard to that. His run on Saturday should tell us whether we are at that level or whether we need to look at handicaps.
“Calett Mad is a nice prospect and is going the right way. His handicap mark is quite high (148), so we thought we would come back to novice company and use the experience he has gained in handicaps. It will be interesting to see how he gets on and where we are with him.”
Callett Mad is likely to vie for favouritism with the Warren Greatrex-trained Missed Approach who after disappointing on his chasing debut underwent a wind operation and duly put in a much improved performance to win with plenty in hand at Lingfield last month.
Philip Hobbs is due to represented by Rock The Kasbah who was runner-up to the classy Politologue in a Grade 2 at Ascot in December and will be towards the top of the betting market along with Sue Smith’s Delusionsofgrandeur who stepped up significantly on two starts over fences when winning at Catterick in December.
The totepool Towton Novices’ Chase is Race 4 from Wetherby on Saturday.