Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Isio Loks Set to Beat Azertyuiop

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Isio Loks Set to Beat Azertyuiop

Article excerpt

Byline: By Naomi Matthewevening Gazette

Azertyuiop faces a daunting task in the Victor Chandler Chase (1.55) at Ascot tomorrow and it would no surprise if Britain's top two-miler found the concession of lumps of weight too much to handle.

Paul Nicholls' star is likely to pose the biggest threat to champion Moscow Flyer when they meet at Cheltenham in March, but in the meantime don't be surprised if he goes down fighting in hot handicap company.

With 11st 10lb to carry, last year's Arkle winner has to concede 19lb to the Nicky Henderson-trained Isio, and that looks a mighty task.

The Seven Barrows handler has his chasers in great form and they have done him proud in the big races this season.

Isio has had just one run this campaign, finishing fifth to Overstrand in a competitive handicap hurdle at Sandown last month after running a little freely, and that should have sharpened him up nicely for tomorrow's task.

He ran a cracker in last season's Arkle Trophy, finishing 12 lengths behind Azertyuiop in third place, and the weight concession gives him an obvious chance.

Nicholls nominated the Victor Chandler Get More Back Novices' Chase (3.00) as the perfect target for Bal De Nuit after his impressive victory at Newbury last month and the five-year-old can underline his status as a rising star.

What Odds, owned by the connections of Martell Cognac Grand National winner Monty's Pass, is the most interesting contender in the richly-endowed Tote Classic Chase (3.05) at Warwick.

A prolific point-to-point winner who won his first start in a handicap chase when beating Golden Storm three and a half lengths at Fairyhouse in November, this unexposed eight-year-old is a thorough stayer who likes soft ground.

He should relish this stamina test off a light weight and comes into the race fresh against several horses who had a tough battle in the Welsh National. …

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