David Pipe sends five runners to Sussex National at Plumpton on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Racing at 2.20pm; trainer Chris Gordon hoping both Blame The Game and Go Whatever can run well; Colin Tizzard's 2020 winner Christmas In April returns
Sunday 2 January 2022 14:48, UK
Course specialist I See You Well is out to back up his recent Plumpton win and execute a long-term plan in the Sky Sports Racing Sussex National on Sunday.
The Seamus Mullins-trained I See You Well has won four of his five chase outings at the West Sussex track, including a five-length success last time in a slightly lower grade, over an extended three-miles-and-one-furlong.
Up 5lb to a mark of 124, the just-turned nine-year-old will face 15 rivals over an extended three-and-a-half-mile trip and the Salisbury handler says the distance will hold no fears.
Watch the Sky Sports Racing Sussex National from Plumpton as we kick off 2022 in style on Sunday, January 2 at 2.20pm
Mullins said: "He likes it down at Plumpton all right, doesn't he? It was a good run last time.
"For a staying chaser he is at the peak of his career at his age.
"He always looked like a horse who needed anything north of three miles. He is in good form and came out of his last race well. He will go on any ground other than fast ground.
"This was a race we have earmarked from the beginning of the year. We have tried to build him up towards this and we are hoping for a very good run."
David Pipe is represented by five runners - Al Roc, Via Dolorosa, Abaya Du Mathan, El Paso Wood and D'Jango - all owned by Judith Wilson and all relative newcomers to the yard.
"They all have bits and pieces of form over a trip. We haven't had them too long," Pipe told Sky Sports Racing.
Tom Scudamore sticks with D'Jango, who was fourth of five to Butterwick Brook on his stable and British debut at Wincanton.
Pipe added: "D'Jango ran well at Wincanton. He will appreciate the step up in trip and softer ground."
El Paso Wood unseated in the Becher Chase at Aintree on his British debut before beaten seven lengths in a novices' handicap chase at Ffos Las.
"El Paso Wood ran a decent race at Ffos Las and will appreciate the step up in trip," said Pipe.
"Abaya Du Mathan we are still learning about and it is the same with Al Roc. The trip might just stretch Via Dolorosa a little bit. He ran a nice race in the Grand Sefton at Aintree, but didn't get that far in the Becher Chase (going well when unseated at the 12th fence).
"Scu [Tom Scudamore] has gone for D'Jango, so hopefully that is our best one."
Chris Gordon is the other trainer with multiple runners, saddling both Blame The Game - a well-held sixth to I See You Well last time - and Go Whatever, who was third in the same race.
Gordon said: "Both have got visors on for the first time.
"They both lack a bit of concentration at times, but both are fit and well and I'd like to think they could both run very well."
Colin Tizzard has won this race three times with Jeremy Spider (2003), Ironside (2008) and Christmas In April (2020), with the latter bidding to land the race again off an 11lb higher mark than when previously successful.
Other rivals include the Lucy Wadham-trained Eclair Du Guye, who was third in the London National at Sandown, and the Emma Lavelle-trained Pemberley, who got off the mark over fences at the fourth attempt at Warwick following a couple of near misses.