UNIONISTE (FR)

 

  • 5 gr g Dom Alco (FR) – Gleep Will (FR) (Cadoudal (FR)
  • Form: 2422165–11311
  • Owner: John Hales
  • Breeder: Haras De Saint-Voir Et Al

Summary
Consistent over hurdles in France, winning once, and triumphed on first start over fences at Auteuil in May 2012 when trained by Guillaume Macaire.

Has won on three of his four starts for new connections including the valuable Grade Three Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs at Cheltenham in December. Returned from a small break to win a competitive three-mile novices' chase at Newbury on 9 February.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 12; Wins: 5; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £130,631

Last Run
Won a three-mile novices' chase by a short-head from Hadrian's Approach at Newbury (soft) on 9 February.

Entries so far at The Festival (Distance – Value)
RSA Chase (13 March) 3m 110y – £150,000
Jewson Novices' Chase (14 March) 2m 4f – £100,000

Paul Nicholls said: "I bought him in the summer from France, where he won an ordinary race over fences at Auteuil, and he has had a very good season. He won for us first time out at Aintree and then was placed at Cheltenham behind Dynaste after we made the running with him. I thought he had a really nice handicap mark and he won the Paul Stewart Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December – stayed on strongly and jumped well.

"I gave him the rest of the winter off and went to Newbury the other day. He won a three-mile novice chase, the race Denman won before taking the RSA Chase at The Festival. He is only five, has kept on improving and jumps great. He was probably 80 per cent right last time and had a good blow afterwards. We knew the Newbury race was going to be tricky with a small field. He was in front too soon and idled up the straight and eventually won by a short-head.

"I always remember Kauto Star winning the Aon Chase by a head and then going on to win the Gold Cup. Unioniste has improved enormously for that prep race. He will be better with plenty of runners and a true gallop. He stays jumps, goes well at Cheltenham, and is definitely in with a chance.

"He is likely to go for the RSA – he is still in the Jewson and if we had torrents of rain and the ground was bottomless we could switch him and bring Rocky Creek into the RSA. Unioniste has been trained with The Festival in mind."

Photograph by Ian Yates. www.eyewhy.co.uk

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