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Trainer Mick Channon has decided to skip this weekend’s card at Newbury with Somersby as he targets a famous win at the Cheltenham Festival against Sprinter Sacre in the 2014 Queen Mother Champion Chase.
The 10-year-old will head straight for the Festival in March after having a difficult race last time out. He unshipped Dominic Elsworth at Ascot and also picked up a knock when running loose.
He has now returned to full training and Channon has decided to miss this weekend’s Cash Out Chase at Newbury. The ground is expected to be heavy and Channon is hoping Somersby will be fresh so he can challenge Sprinter Sacre.
The latter is on his way back from an irregular heartbeat, but is still the heavy favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Speaking about Somersby’s chances, Channon told Racing UK: “He jumped three fences and probably had a harder race that day than he had in his other two runs.
“He jumped a few hurdles, skinned himself and came back with a big knee but he’s great now and back cantering.
“He will go straight to Cheltenham now I would have thought and go for the big race, the Queen Mother. I don’t think there’s any other option really. We’ve got to wait for some ground.
“There’s no point in going on heavy. We looked at the Game Spirit this week but it’s heavy now, so what will it be like when the rain has come through again? It will be a nightmare.”