David Pipe: trainer looks to hold a strong hand in Saturday's Classic ChasePICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Pipe could run three in Warwick's Classic Chase
SONA SASTA, 7-1 joint-favourite with the sponsors for Saturday's Betfred Classic Chase, could form part of a three-strong challenge in the Grade 3 race for trainer David Pipe.
The nine-year-old, who finished in mid-division in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, heads Betfred's betting for the Warwick race along with the Charlie Longsdon-trained Strongbows Legend, who fell when sent off favourite for the Sussex National on his most recent start.
Pipe said on Monday that Sona Sasta could be joined in the race by Faasel, who was last seen when finishing second in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April, and Shaking Hands, who finished third at Wincanton last month.
Shaking Hands also holds an entry on Thursday which he could take up while the participation of the Colin Tizzard-trained Hey Big Spender, who is rated 10lb clear at the top of the weights, could also be a factor in whether the 10-1chance runs at Warwick.
"With Shaking Hands it depends on what the top-weight does as he is out of the handicap," said Pipe. "He also has an entry at Catterick on Thursday.
"Faasel is due to run and Sona Sasta could take his chance too."
A total of 17 have been entered for the 3m 5f race worth £55,000 and the sponsor's George Primarolo said: "It looks a wide-open renewal of the Betfred Classic Chase and whilst Sona Sasta and Strongbows Legend have to bounce back from poor efforts last time out, both have shown decent enough form already this season to give them a fair chance of landing this valuable race."
Alasi has been installed a 12-1 chance with the sponsors to register her fourth successive win at Kempton on Saturday in theWilliam Hill Lanzarote Hurdle but trainer Paul Webber said she could yet go for another race on the card.
The eight-year-old won over fences at Ludlow on Thursday and she has the option of running in a novice chase at Kempton on Saturday which was re-opened on Monday.
Webber said: "She is also entered for the two-mile novice chase at Kempton and it may be more sensible to take that route with her but we will wait and see what the entries are tomorrow and decide.
"She is just such a wonderful mare. There are not many mares better than her around this season, only Quevega and Voler La Vedette readily spring to mind. We have a beautiful quandary on our hands with this mare, with both chasing and graded mares' hurdles ahead of her."