Grand Paradiso tipped to challenge Monkey Puzzle
Grand Paradiso, a horse that cost just £800, is the favourite for the £25,000 William Hill Highland National Handicap Chase (For The Julian Llewellen Palmer Memorial Trophy) at Perth Festival tomorrow (Friday 23 April).
A son of supersire Galileo and bred to win the Derby, Grand Paradiso currently heads the market for the 3m 6f marathon which has attracted a competitive field of 15 runners. He started life in Ireland with Aidan O’Brien and then moved to Micky Hammond’s Middleham yard. His current trainer is Cumbrian Tristan Davidson after his bargain-basement buy at Doncaster Sales in 2018.
The nine-year-old arrives for his date with destiny in great heart following back-to-back wide-margin wins at Sedgefield which have seen his handicap mark climb by 17lbs.
Opposition to Grand Paradiso includes Tom George-trained Boyhood, a close third at Haydock last month, and Monkey Puzzle saddled by 2019 winning Highland National handler Oliver Sherwood.
The other £25,000 feature is the Listed William Hill Fair Maid Of Perth Mares’ Chase in which 2019 victor My Old Gold is among the five declarations.
Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Zambella, a Listed winner herself, was still going well when falling three out in the Grade 2 Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham and last year’s Coral Cup scorer Dame De Compagnie and also among the small but select line-up.
Pistol Whipped (pictured) was an impressive winner of the £20,000 feature race for Nico De Boinville and Nicky Henderson at Perth on Thursday.
He was supplying the Lambourn trainer with his 100th success of the season when making all to score by 14-lengths in the Thank You Phil Nelson River Tay Handicap Chase.
The winning jockey said: “He’s pretty versatile going left or right-handed but he loves being able to dominate in small fields. He’s very quick out of the blocks and that was another career best for him today.”
Fanzio also jumped for fun on his way to bagging the WilliamHill.com Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Chase under champion jockey Brian Hughes.
Winning trainer Richard Hobson, who is based near Cheltenham, said: “Brian was poetry in motion and give him a lovely ride. We decided to go from the front again today and he really jumped for fun.”
The final day of the William Hill Perth Festival takes place behind closed doors tomorrow (Friday 23 April).