Rowland Meyrick repeat the likely aim for Top Ville Ben

Wed 8 Dec 2021

A bid for a second victory in the Rowland Meyrick is next on the agenda for Top Ville Ben after returning home none the worse from his fall in Saturday’s Becher Chase at Aintree.

Phil Kirby’s charge appeared to have taken well to the famous fences on Merseyside before coming to grief at the 12th obstacle.

Having emerged unscathed, the nine-year-old will now be prepared for Wetherby’s Grade Three feature on Boxing Day, which he won in 2019.

Kirby said: “Top Ville is absolutely fine. He was loving it until he came down, but he’s capable of doing something stupid like that!

“He’ll probably go to the Rowland Meyrick again and we’ll see where we go from there.”

A decision on whether Top Ville Ben could return to Aintree for a tilt at the Grand National in the spring will not be made until the nearer the time.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” Kirby added.

“He looked like a potential National horse on Saturday, but at the same time, you’d have to fill your hole in between now and then with something else.

“We went there thinking if he won that would be absolutely brilliant, but if he jumped round and ran well, he’d still have a lovely weight for the National.

“We’d probably didn’t answer any of the questions really, apart from we know he can jump them, but can fall at one as well!

“He’s all right, which is the main thing.”

Two other horses for whom Kirby holds high hopes are Bushypark and Skycutter.

Bushypark won five times over hurdles last season and made a successful reappearance and chasing debut at Kelso on Sunday in a race in which two of his three rivals failed to finish.

Kirby said: “I was really pleased with how he jumped. Maybe the race fell apart a little bit, but you can only beat what’s in front of you and he couldn’t do any more than that.

“Hopefully he’ll come on again. He might be one that’s better off in a plain novice with a penalty.

“He needs very soft ground.”

Skycutter made it two from two over hurdles at Musselburgh on Monday – dominating from the front for much of the way and finding enough on the run-in to beat another previous winner in Collingham.

“He’s a good horse and hopefully he’ll be better when he learns to drop the bridle. I think he can drop it, to be fair, it’s just in these small fields they can’t go quick enough for him,” Kirby added.

“Tommy (Dowson) was trying not to give him a hard race and he’d gone fast enough, so something was entitled to come out of the pack. I don’t think the second horse is a bad horse.

“There’s different options. We’ll see what mark he gets on Tuesday for a start. Whether he’s better running in another juvenile or in a novice with an allowance maybe, we’ll see.

“He’s quite a big horse who might be better running against older horses now. His jumping was good and straight, which was the priority really.”

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