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Patman Du Charmil Primed for Elusive Cheltenham Glory

Patman Du Charmil bids for a well deserved Cheltenham triumph in the £55,000 Grade Three Trophy Chase (2.05pm) over two miles, five furlongs on Festival Trials Day, Saturday, January 26.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained six-year-old has been in tremendous form in four starts at Prestbury Park this term, finishing in the frame three times, including when runner-up to Vodka Bleu in the Listed TurfTV New Year Chase on January 1, after attempting to make all.

Patman Du Charmil previously finished a game third to subsequent Grade One Victor Chandler Chase winner Tamarinbleu in the Grade Three Gold Cup over the course and distance on December 15.

The gelding was also beaten under six lengths when fifth to L’Antartique in the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup at The Open on November 17 and came third in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Novices’ Chase over a longer trip on October 20.

Twiston-Davies revealed this morning: “Patman Du Charmil will run in the Trophy on Saturday. He’s been in fine form this season and hasn’t run a bad race. It was a game effort last time and I was very pleased with him. It would be very nice if we could win this one.

“He just keeps coming up against well handicapped horses. If you look at the Tamarinbleu race, it was an unbelievable run behind that horse when you consider it now and the same can probably be said about the run behind Vodka Bleu last time.

“The soft ground won’t be a problem, it’s what he ran on last time and Paddy (Brennan) will ride.”

Patman Du Charmil faces stiff competition for the prestigious prize, which was won last year by the David Pipe-trained Whispered Secret, with subsequent Racing Post Plate victor Idole First in third.

Gloucestershire handler Tom George has entered exciting French recruit Nacarat, who scored an impressive victory on his British debut at Wincanton on January 5. The seven-year-old had smart form across the Channel and cruised to a 14-length triumph last time in a handicap chase over this distance.

Slad-based George revealed: “We are undecided at this stage as to whether Nacarat goes to Cheltenham for the Trophy. He’ll work tomorrow and we’ll see how he is. He’s entered and I’ll have a chat with his owner later in the week and decide whether to run him this weekend.

“It’s hard to know whether to stick to a flat track for now with him having come from France, or whether we go to Cheltenham.

“We bought him at the sales and he couldn’t have done any better at Wincanton on his first start for us. He won very nicely and the handicapper has reacted accordingly by putting him up 18lb.

“He did all that we asked him to do - he jumped well, looked good and it was very encouraging. It was quite an impressive performance. He likes soft ground and he loves jumping.”

The Trophy is sponsored fo the first time in 2008 by the Dublin-based bookmaker and has attracted 24 high-class entries, including the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Butler’s Cabin, the current 16/1 second-favourite for the John Smith’s Grand National, and his stablemate Bob Hall, who was runner-up in the Listed Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase at the 2007 Festival.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has engaged a classy duo in Opera Mundi, winner of a three-mile chase at Haydock on November 24, and last season’s Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase victor New Little Bric.

Vodka Bleu is on a hat-trick after winning the Listed TurfTV New Year Chase, while Madison Du Berlais, also trained by Pipe, was runner-up to his stablemate in the BGC Silver Cup at Ascot in December and is also engaged.

Other entries include the Irish raider Time To Sell from Eugene O’Sullivan’s yard, the classy Roman Ark, Magic Sky, Cossack Dancer, Limited Edition, Private Be, De Blanc, Maljimar, Preacher Boy, Model Son and Tidal Fury.

The Trophy Chase is part of a fantastic seven-race card that includes four Grade Two contests, the feature event being the £100,000 Grade Two Letheby & Christopher Chase (2.40pm), one of the premier trials for the Grade One totesport Gold Cup at The Festival.

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