Alex Hales' Millers Bank scooted up by 10 lengths in the Manifesto Chase at Aintree but the trainer admits it's a gamble sending him to the Punchestown Festival.
Edgcote trainer Hales is stepping Millers Bank up to three miles after the commanding win over two miles, four furlongs during the Aintree Grand National Festival. Eight-year-old Passing Glance gelding Millers Bank will take on the likes of Bob Olinger and Capodanno in Tuesday's Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase.
"We have left him in at Punchestown and it is all systems go," said Hales. "We have been happy with him since he came out of Aintree. There is no doubt that it is a gamble, as it is only 19 days after Aintree but on the flip side, what have we got to lose? "He is never going to be able to run as a novice again and he just seems fit and well. "I think we are on a high and it is nothing ventured, nothing gained. As long as he comes back safe and sound, that's all that matters. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't diminish his season, really." Millers Bank is an obvious talent but things didn't go exactly to plan during the middle part of the season with the horse unseating Harry Bannister twice on the spin at Newbury and Cheltenham.
Yet, everything came together at Aintree when Millers Bank put in a eye-catching showing to beat War Lord by a full 10 lengths.
Hales added: "It was fabulous. It was a great day. When you have faith in something and you have had a few hiccoughs, it was nice to see it come right. "We tinkered with his wind and whether that or the break helped him, something seemed to. "Sometimes you have to take a step back, so we decided to miss Cheltenham and annoyingly - hindsight is a wonderful thing - we wish we had gone there. "But Aintree obviously suits him well and he has won there twice, so I'm not complaining. We got a Grade One under our belts and it took me 20 years to find one of them."
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