Mister Whitaker in mix for BetVictor Gold Cup

Mister Whitaker may make his reappearance at Carlisle this weekend before a possible run in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham next month.

Mick Channon’s charge was a head winner of the Listed Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Festival back in March, and could have his first start since in Cumbria on Sunday.

Channon said: “Mister Whitaker is in great order and could well run in the Colin Parker Memorial Chase at Carlisle on Sunday if the ground is suitable.

“Then he has the option of the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham, or Newbury a couple of weeks after. We have entered for both, and I would have thought he will run in one or the other.

“Mister Whitaker starts this season with a handicap mark of 145. He will probably have to improve another stone to be competitive in these big handicaps.

“He is not the biggest horse, but he is very compact. He has a great cruising speed and it looks as if he stays well too, which is what everyone is looking for. He is just a very good little horse.”

The Nicky Henderson-trained Rather Be was the narrow runner-up to Mister Whitaker at the Festival, and he also features among 51 entries for the Cheltenham highlight on November 17.

The Gary Moore-trained Baron Alco, second in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at The Festival, and Aintree’s Manifesto Novices’ Chase runner-up Rene’s Girl are also entered and share favouritism with Mister Whitaker and Rather Be.

Thistlecrack is one of the headline entries for Colin Tizzard, while Paul Nicholls has nine to pick from – headed by last Sunday’s Aintree hero Frodon.

David Pipe won the race back in 2011, and King’s Socks is one of three for him – with 2017 victor Splash Of Ginge among four for Nigel Twiston-Davies.

There is just one Irish-trained entry in the shape of Eric McNamara’s Black Scorpion, with weights for the race announced on November 7.

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