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Uxizandre ready to book Cheltenham Festival trip says King

Alan King feels the lightly-raced Uxizandre has the potential to make his presence felt in the JLT Novices' Chase at this year's Cheltenham Festival if things go his way.

The six-year-old was bought for £100,000 by leading owner JP McManus after a promising campaign over hurdles last term and so far that has looked money well spent following two victories as a chaser at Plumpton.

On the first occasion he showed plenty of spirit to recover from a bad blunder two out and gamely get back up to beat De Blacksmith by a neck despite giving away 12lb, while Tony McCoy enjoyed a much easier afternoon when he then romped home by 17 lengths at the same venue.

Although absent since November, a blow-out at Warwick on Friday or Fontwell on Sunday could put him spot on for a trip to Prestbury Park and King is clearly sweet on this son of Fragrant Mix.

"He's been very difficult to place because he needs to go left-handed and there have been no suitable novice chases for him," said King. "I couldn't run him in any of the big handicaps as he needs to have three runs for that, so he can go for a class 2 at Warwick on Friday and that would hopefully be his warm-up for Cheltenham.

"He walked right through the second last at Plumpton and I thought he'd blown it but he knuckled down well. He's sometimes a little too brave for his own good but he's in good order and I'm looking forward to getting him back out so we can decide where he goes at Cheltenham."

Uxizandre prevailed at Newbury and Warwick over the smaller obstacles and was placed in his first six starts in that sphere before finding things too hot in the Grade 1 Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree behind At Fishers Cross.

Although his last two spins were over 3m 1f, King has dropped him back in distance this term and feels that has been a good move, with the JLT Novices' Chase over 2m 4f an obvious target and the Byrne Group Plate entering calculations as a back-up plan. 

"He won over 3m last season over hurdles but he's been showing plenty of boot at home and on his two runs I know AP was of the view that we'd stick where we are at two and a half or 2m 5f, so I'd imagine he'll either go for the JLT or the Byrne Group," confirmed King on At The Races.


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Uxizandre ready to book Cheltenham Festival trip says King

Alan King feels the lightly-raced Uxizandre has the potential to make his presence felt in the JLT Novices' Chase at this year's Cheltenham Festival if things go his way.

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