Surprise entry for Doncaster’s big race on Saturday

Vaniteux ridden by Barry Geraghty (left) one of the home entries in the Lightning Novices Chase at Doncaster on Saturday.  Photo: David Davies/PA Wire
Vaniteux ridden by Barry Geraghty (left) one of the home entries in the Lightning Novices Chase at Doncaster on Saturday. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire
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Shaneshill is a surprise entry in the grand-national2016.co.uk Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster on Saturday.

A total of 14 horses have the option of the Grade Two, which looks set to be a hugely competitive affair.

As well as Shaneshill, who finished runner-up in last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and is unbeaten in two starts over fences, Willie Mullins has entered Avant Tout and Net D’Ecosse.

Among the home team is Nicky Henderson’s classy Vaniteux, who pushed Ar Mad close at Kempton last time out.

Third that day was Harry Whittington’s Arzal, and the two could clash again, with the latter expected to be suited by going left-handed.

Fox Norton looked a smart prospect earlier in the season, winning twice and finishing close up behind Garde La Victoire at Cheltenham.

“The intention is to run,” said trainer Neil Mulholland.

“He’s as good as he’s ever been. He’s nice and fresh as we gave him a break off the back of three runs, and we’re looking forward to it.

“He’s only six so I’ll have a chat with the owners and see where we go.”

Kim Bailey’s Red Spinner has created a big impression this season since switching to fences, as has Evan Williams’ On Tour, another possible runner.

Cloonacool, Bouvreuil, Raven’s Tower, Pain Au Chocolat and Thomas Crapper all have the option, as does Montbazon, absent since July 2014.