Benatar to skip weekend entries with Gary Moore setting sights on Festival

Thu 22 Feb 2018

Gary Moore has decided against running Benatar this weekend and will instead send his exciting novice chaser straight to the Cheltenham Festival.

The six-year-old is unbeaten in three starts over fences, most recently claiming the scalp of Finian's Oscar in a thrilling climax to the Grade Two Noel Novices' Chase at Ascot in December.

Moore entered his charge for the Pendil Novices' Chase at Kempton on Saturday and an ordinary novice chase at Fontwell on Sunday, but he will instead be readied for the JLT Novices' Chase at Prestbury Park on March 15.

Moore said: "We've decided we're going to go straight to Cheltenham.

"He's a horse who likes a bit of time between his races and we just felt it was getting a bit close.

"That (JLT Novices' Chase) is the plan."

Benatar is a general 12-1 shot for the opening race on day three of the Festival, with Ben Pauling's Willoughby Court the 4-1 favourite.

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