IF ever the phrase ‘course specialist’ utilized to 1 horse particularly, then Highland Lodge might be it.
The 12-year-old – skilled by Cartmel handler James Moffatt – returns to his favoured stomping floor of Aintree this Saturday for a race he has turn into synonymous with in recent times, the Becher Chase.
Victorious within the 3m 1f Grade Three steeplechase over the Grand Nationwide fences in 2015, Highland Lodge has adopted that up by being positioned within the two most up-to-date renewals of the Becher.
The Merseyside course is someplace he has all the time proven a liking for below Moffatt’s cost and the Pit Farm Stables coach is very happy for that to be the case.
“It’s virtually to the purpose the place he doesn’t actually like them wherever else,” mentioned Moffatt, who once more renews Highland Lodge’s partnership with jockey Henry Brooke. “It makes him a little bit of a one-trick pony, but when that one-trick race is the Becher Chase then so be it.
“We’re actually trying ahead to him going, Henry Brooke rides and also you simply can’t assist however trying ahead to a horse like this. He’s magnificent over these fences.”
Highland Lodge has not been seen since being pulled up within the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock again in January, though he has all the time been used sparingly by Moffatt since coming into his care three years in the past.
The coach is in little question that can go well with the horse completely, with Highland Lodge having a quiet week of labor to verify he’s at his finest come the off at 1:30pm this Saturday.
It’s shaping as much as be a high-quality area forward of the ultimate declarations, with a number of Grade One winner Don Poli, final 12 months’s Becher victor Blaklion and 2016 Grand Nationwide runner-up The Final Samurai among the many potential 28 runners nonetheless in at Monday’s affirmation stage.
However Moffatt is quietly assured Highland Lodge will be capable of ship a robust run for him and homeowners Cheveley Park Stud.
“He’s been skilled for the race, he hasn’t acquired any mileage on the clock and we’re simply placing the ending touches to him,” mentioned Moffatt. “He’s completed all his critical work and this week is simply freshening up time for him.
“Clearly, he’s not getting any youthful and realistically it’s going to be an enormous process, however it’s been an enormous process for him yearly and simply the actual fact he hasn’t acquired plenty of mileage does offer you hope for one more actually massive run.
“Actually, his home-work, it’s been pretty much as good because it ever has been and we’ve mentioned that to Cheveley Park, so we’re trying ahead to seeing an important horse run once more.”