Champion trainer Paul Nicholls looks to have another potential star chaser on his hands in the shape of the fast improving Rocky Creek who routed some decent rivals in tremendous fashion at Warwick on Saturday when running away with the Betfred Mobile Lotto Novices Chase, writes Elliot Slater.
Expected to have plenty on his plate with the promsing Highland Lodge seeking a hattrick of chase success and made favourite with Betfair at 6/5, Rocky Creek (7/4) was patiently ridden by Daryl Jacob before creeping into the race going down the far side for the final time when he could be spotted going ominously well behind the front-running favourite. Sent on at the second from home, Nicholls’ charge fairly bounded away to eventually cross the line 15 lengths to the good over Fill The Power, with Highland Lodge having run himself into the ground finishing a further four-and-a-half lengths back in third.
It was hard to not be impressed by the performance of the winner who was immediately cut from as big as 20/1 in the ante-post market for the Grade 1 RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on March 14, to a post-race best offer of just 12/1 with Betfair Cheltenham, a market currently dominated by David Pipe’s dashing grey Dynaste (5/2).
Eighth to Brindisi Breeze in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, the gelded of Dr Massini looked set to make a winning chase debut at Exeter in October only to blunder badly at the final fence and hand the race on a plate to Harry Topper. He got off the mark on his second outing at Doncaster though, easily beating the decent Molotof over three miles before stepping up in class to register the impressive Warwick success that now has connections dreaming of RSA Chase glory.