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Dark horse Alary set for British debut

 Jan 19 2017

Colin Tizzard could add to an already strong Cheltenham Gold Cup team when Alary finally makes his British debut in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock on Saturday night.

Sky Racing viewers will get to see a possible Gold Cup hope on Saturday as Alary looks to cement his credentials as a serious contender alongside brilliant stablemates Thistlecrack, Native River and Cue Card. Indeed it is increasingly looking hard to look past a Tizzard win in the Cheltenham showpiece and the lesser fancied Alary could move into the limelight after creating a significant buzz from connections since arriving from France.

The seven-year-old is only twice a winner from 13 starts in France but was placed last season in two of the country's leading Grade 1 jumps races, the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris and the Prix la Haye Jousselin. However it is the confident statements coming from his new trainer which have really sparked significant interest ahead of Saturday's British debut.

A typically quality field for the Peter Marsh will offer a good test for Alary with Bristol De Mai, Definitly Red and Sausalito Sunrise notable entries and Tizzard's runner would certainly need to live up to the hype and improve on his French form against such opposition.

Tom O'Brien's Sausalito Sunrise is a talented chaser at his best and ran up to his mark when fifth behind Grand National hope Theatre Guide at Cheltenham last start and looks an obvious danger.

The Nigel Twiston Davies-trained Bristol De Mai is likely to make this three mile contest a true test from the front as he did when stepped up in distance last start. The six-year-old has never been out of the first two in 10 starts over fences with the Newcastle run completing a run of four good seconds in a row which began with a fine effort in novice company at the Cheltenham Festival. He looks open to further improvement as does Brian Ellison's Definitly Red who is three from seven over fences and was highly impressive with a career best win in Grade 3 company at Wetherby on Boxing Day.

With all the hype surrounding Alary, he is likely to go off at too short odds and while his trainer's confidence has to be respected it could be worth taking a chance with Bristol De Mai or Definitly Red with slight preference for the latter as his Wetherby form is working out particularly well and an eight pound rise doesn't look overly harsh.

The Peter Marsh Handicap Chase is live on Sky Racing on Saturday night.

Richard Wade - Sky Racing

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