2.40 JLT Specialty Handicap Chase One of the most competitive races of the Festival, the JLT Speciality Chase is a war of attrition fought out by a huge field of experienced jumpers. The sort of race that is more than likely to throw up a big priced surprise, a victory here puts the winner in the picture for the Grand National the following month. That was the case in 2007 when Joes Edge landed the Handicap at odds of 50/1 before being sent off favourite for the Aintree showpiece. Fruity O’Rooney, runner-up in the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, will bid to go one better on March 12. The 10-year-old, trained by Gary Moore, has been a model of consistency over fences with a string of commendable efforts in big handicaps.
At Cheltenham last year he made most of the running under trainer’s son Jamie Moore only to be collared on the run-in by Alfie Sherrin.
Moore senior has confirmed the same race will be the target again for Fruity O’Rooney, who would not be inconvenienced if the ground came up testing.
On his last two starts, Fruity O’Rooney has been placed both at Sandown and on Cheltenham Trials Day behind Katenko, who has developed into a contender for the Gold Cup.
“He’s been so consistent,” said trainer Moore. “I’m glad I ran him over a shorter trip last time as I was adamant he had the pace for it, but even in heavy ground he was blatantly outpaced.
“He’ll go back to the Festival for the same race he ran in last year. The handicapper has left him alone so he’ll be 1lb lower than when second last year so you’d imagine he’d have a good chance.”
Moore also has Bergo entered for the World Hurdle but fears he is running out of time to get the classy 10-year-old, who has been off the track since the 2011 Doncaster Cup, ready for the race.
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