Betfair Chase among possible early-season options for Ms Parfois

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Mon 10 Sep 2018

Early-season objectives for Grand National hope Ms Parfois could include the Betfair Chase provided the ground at Haydock is testing.

The Anthony Honeyball-trained mare was among the leading novice staying chasers last term, winning three times and signing off her campaign by finishing runner-up in both the National Hunt Chase, at the Cheltenham Festival, and Grade One Betway Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree.

She was a popular choice when Racing UK invited its Twitter followers to nominate a horse to follow over the months ahead and Honeyball reports that “she’s looking good” after having minor wind surgery over the summer.

Watch Ms Parfois's near-miss at the Cheltenham Festival

The Dorset-based trainer has a range of options in mind for her in the first half of the campaign with the £200,000 Betfair Chase, the first leg of The Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown, under serious consideration.

Potential rivals could include Bristol De Mai, runaway winner of the Grade One feature last term, plus Cheltenham Gold Cup one-two Native River and Might Bite.

Honeyball told on Monday: “We will have to see how carried away we get. If it’s soft, stroke heavy ground then we might left her run in the Betfair.

“It’s a slightly out-of-the-ballpark suggestion and we absolutely realise that on good to soft ground it would be waste of time. The only chance she’d have against those proper Gold Cup-type horses, I think, would be if the ground was heavy or attritional.”

On the prospect good run at Haydock potentially ruining the seven-year-old's handicap mark of 146, he said: “If she is first or second you would not be worried about that. If she’s competitive it’s a win-win. If she’s not, her mark stays the same.”

Outlining other possible races for Ms Parfois before the turn of the year, he said: “On the bottom rung of the ladder, there’s a listed mares’ chase [at Newbury] for her on December 19 worth £27,500 but the problem is that we are also looking at the Hennessy [Ladbrokes Trophy], the Becher Chase because she jumps so well, and the Welsh National.

 Ms Parfois was a model of consistency last season (PA)
Ms Parfois was a model of consistency last season (PA)

“For me, the Welsh National is the race that has her name on it and it’s just how we go about getting there.”

In the second half of the season, Ms Parfois could attempt to become the first mare to win the Grand National since Nickel Coin in 1951.

“She will have an entry, that’s for sure, although nine times out of ten the ground there would be a bit quick for her, although it wouldn't have been this year,” Honeyball said.

Ms Parfois is a general 20-1 for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on December 1 and is 40-1 with Betfair and Ladbrokes for the Grand National.

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