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Countdown to Cheltenham begins

Looks Like Trouble begins campaign to claim Cheltenham Gold Cup double

Looks Like Trouble sets out at Wincanton on Saturday in his bid to emulate L’Escargot, who was the last horseto retain the Cheltenham Gold Cup 32 years ago.

A tendon injury kept Looks Like Trouble on the sidelines after winning the James Nicholson Chase at Down Royal 14 months ago. But his trainer Noel Chance believes he has his star approaching the form of two years ago when he took the Gold Cup in a blaze of glory.

Looks Like Trouble missed nothing last March when the Cheltenham Festival was cancelled due to FMD and, in such an open year as this, must have great prospects of completing the Gold Cup double. First, though, he has to prove he is right back in Wincanton’s Highclere John Bull Chase against the likes of Bellator, Whitenzo and Celibate.

Chance galloped Looks Like Trouble after racing at Huntingdon last Friday and schooled him over six fences at Lambourn earlier this week. He described himself “fully satisfied” with his 10-year-old’s condition, but conceded that he will only know where he stands after the horse has run on Saturday.

Haydock stages the most valuable race of the day, the £45,000 Bet Direct Peter Marsh Chase in which Nigel Twiston-Davies’s Bindaree and Jonjo O’Neill’s Siberian Gale may be the principals.

Bindaree finished third behind Legal Right and Kingsmark over the course last month and has since run a cracker to take the minor honours behind Supreme Glory and Jocks Cross in the Welsh National. This might be his turn.

O’Neill’s Jackdaws Castle stables are in top form and Siberian Gale, who wasa prolific winner over fences in Ireland, will be fancied to step up on his second to Shooting Light at Ascot last month.

At Kempton Henrietta Knight’s Impek may have the answer to a tricky race for the Lanzarote Hurdle, while the 14-year-old Super Tactics will be taking part in the race named after him, the Super Tactics Handicap Chase.

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