Racing: Chief out to rekindle flame in Game Spirit

Spot what the following horses have in common, and name the odd one out: Well Chief, Azertyuiop, Contraband, Seebald, Le Roi Miguel, Armaturk, Le Duc, Locksmith, Golden Alpha. Points for identifying them as the runners in the extraordinary Celebration Chase at Sandown two years ago, the title-deciding end-of-season contest that featured contestants from only the Martin Pipe and Paul Nicholls stables. And a bonus for knowing that Armaturk is the only one of the nonet - who had amassed 81 victories between them - to have subsequently won.

Well Chief, who clinched Pipe's 15th and final championship that day, was sidelined afterwards by leg trouble and missed all last season. But the tough, bouncy little chestnut is to make his comeback in the Game Spirit Chase on Saturday, for which he was confirmed as one of 10 entries yesterday.

"He is in very good form," said his now-trainer, David Pipe. "Timmy [Murphy] will come to school him later in the week and we'll see what his sessions are like."

Two years ago Well Chief beat all bar Moscow Flyer in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and has next month's crown as his target again. This time round, at the age of eight, he must face the new two-mile generation and the Cheltenham favourite, Voy Por Ustedes, will be one of Saturday's opponents.

"If we go, we are going for the experience," added Pipe. "We just want to keep him in one piece. Whether he wins or not he will improve for the run. And you are probably going to see a mini Queen Mother in itself."

Despite his 22-month absence Well Chief is vying for second favouritism for the Festival feature, five weeks tomorrow, with the Irish pair Newmill, the reigning champion, and Nickname.

Next in the lists are the French raider Foreman and Ashley Brook, both Game Spirit Chase entries. The score between Foreman and Voy Por Ustedes is 2-1 in the latter's favour - in the Arkle Trophy last March and Desert Orchid Chase in December, with a reverse in the Maghull Chase at Aintree - but the former's trainer, Thierry Doumen, is undaunted. "There's only 1lb between them on official ratings and Foreman is getting tougher," he said.

Armaturk and his Paul Nicholls stablemate Sporazene, unbeaten in two chases this term, are also set to run on Saturday en route to Cheltenham, and will be accompanied to the Berkshire track by the Royal & SunAlliance Chase favourite Denman, due to line up in the novices' chase.

But the Ditcheat yard's biggest gun is the Gold Cup favourite Kauto Star, scheduled to complete his final Festival prep in the Aon Chase. The seven-year-old had been under consideration for the Game Spirit if testing ground were forecast, but with the ground likely to remain good to soft the longer race was chosen. "The forecast looks OK," said Nicholls. "If it changes we have the option of going to Ascot a week later. There have been no problems with him; he's ready to go."

An hour and ten minutes after Kauto Star struts his stuff at Newbury, some of his chief Gold Cup rivals, including In Compliance and The Listener, turn out at Leopardstown in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, moved from its Sunday slot to avoid a clash with Ireland's home six nations rugby match against France.

In Compliance, trained by Michael O'Brien, beat last year's Gold Cup winner War Of Attrition at Punchestown in December and The Listener, from the Robert Alner yard, lowered the colours of Beef Or Salmon at Leopardstown later that month. The grey will leave for Ireland today. "We went early last time because of the Christmas ferry schedule," said Alner. "It worked, so we'll do the same again."

Beef Or Salmon, the winner last year, will take his chance again, but a notable absentee is his runner-up Hedgehunter. The Grand National winner is not yet in top form, according to his trainer, Willie Mullins.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Cosmologist

(Market Rasen 1.50)

NB: Cloudless Dawn

(Market Rasen 3.20)

News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
news

As anti-Semitic attacks rise, Grant Feller re-evaluates his identity

News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
Sport
football

Striker ignored Brendan Rodger's request to applaud audience

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Secondary teachers required in King's Lynn

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary teachers re...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Room Leader PositionI am currently ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery NurseI am currently...

Nursery Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Breakfast and after school club wor...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?