War Of Attrition pursues quiet progress

In these early skirmishes, War Of Attrition has everything to lose and, seemingly, practically nothing to gain. But his latest foray, at Thurles this afternoon, represents another crucial stage on a precarious journey back to the sport's defining battlegrounds.

The 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is fortunate that the man poring over the maps, back in the general's tent, should be as artful a strategist as Mouse Morris. When War Of Attrition made his comeback at Punchestown last month, after an absence of 658 days with tendon problems, his trainer knew perfectly well that an easy defeat of another troubled Gold Cup winner, Kicking King, represented barely half the battle. Morris reserved his real apprehension for the next morning, when he went into the horse's stable at Everardsgrange.

Much to his relief, the horse's tendons were cool, and nor has Morris been given any anxiety since. He sensibly elected not to risk War Of Attrition on awkward going at Wetherby last Saturday, and instead sends him down the road to meet another small field in easy ground. Two of his rivals might once have commanded respect – Central House and Rathgar Beau have both beaten Moscow Flyer in their time – but they share a rather gnarled look nowadays. In contrast War Of Attrition, lest we forget, is entitled to remain in his pomp at nine.

He might have faced sterner opposition from Snowy Morning, but Willie Mullins has decided to wait a little longer and may now send the Grand National third to Haydock on 22 November for the Betfair Chase. That race is firmly on the agenda for Kicking King, another to have declined the opportunity to run at Thurles, though of course Kauto Star will be waiting for them there.

Another steeplechaser testing the water after a long absence is Character Building who, at Towcester this afternoon, makes his first start since finishing third to Denman in the Hennessy Gold Cup. His form when previously a close second in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival was reinforced by Irish and Welsh National wins respectively for Butler's Cabin, the winner, and Miko De Beauchene, going well when unseating three out.

John Quinn starts him off in a handicap hurdle, where he naturally runs off a lower rating. "I would never run a horse if I thought they would need the run in a big way," Quinn said yesterday. "He went lame behind last season, but he's well now and I would expect him to run a race tomorrow. He's in the Hennessy, but we will just get this race out of the way first."

One of the pleasures of the jumps season, now really gathering momentum, is that good horses can show up at any midweek meeting. At Chepstow yesterday, for instance, Tom George introduced a nice prospect in Secret Tune, placed at Royal Ascot during a light career on the Flat.

But then that is something Paul Nicholls seems to do every day of the week, albeit the champion trainer was surprised that The Gossmoor Yank proved able to win the other division of the same race. "He was very, very green," Nicholls said. "It looked a good maiden hurdle, and I thought he would want further. He will improve enormously as he gains experience."

Over at Huntingdon, however, Cosmea failed to consolidate her status as early favourite for the JCB Triumph Hurdle. Alan King has a fine record with juveniles and this filly had made a bright start over timber at Wincanton, but she made pretty hard work of landing odds of 2-7 round this sharp track.

* The Clive Cox-trained three-year-old Electrolyser was cut from 8-1 to 6-1 yesterday by Ladbrokes in their betting on Saturday's November Handicap.

November Handicap (1m 4f, Doncaster, Saturday) Ladbrokes latest odds: 4-1 Presvis, 6-1 Electrolyser, 8-1 First Avenue, 10-1 Night Crescendo, 12-1 Tarkheena Prince, The Betchworth Kid, Blimey O'Riley, Magicalmysterytour, Menwaal & Pevensey, 14-1 Young Mick & Merchant of Dubai, 16-1 Ajan, Hits Only Vic, Tastahil & Tropical Strait, 20-1 Cape Tribulation, Redesignation & Spring Dream, 25-1 others

Suggested Topics
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick