Confirmed runners and riders for Saturday's big races - including the £150,000 Coral Trophy at Kempton

Lord Baddesley: won for the first time over fences
Lord Baddesley: one of two runners in the Coral Trophy for Chris GordonCredit: Alan Crowhurst

Chris Gordon will bid for more big-race staying handicap glory with two runners in Saturday's £150,000 Coral Trophy (3.37) at Kempton, but hopes the wet weather will not scupper leading contender Lord Baddesley's chances.

Gordon landed the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster last month with Annual Invictus and has a strong team in the 3m handicap, with Lord Baddesley set to be joined in the line-up by Unanswered Prayers.

Lord Baddesley was last seen finishing second in a handicap chase at Newbury in December and is vying for favouritism alongside Flegmatik, but the trainer hopes conditions will not deteriorate further. The going at Kempton is currently soft, good to soft in places, but heavy rain was forecast for Thursday.

Gordon said: "I just wish it would stop raining. I always think Lord Baddesley is a horse for which slightly better ground would be ideal. He does have form in a bit of soft ground and Kempton will dry back very quickly.

"If it was anywhere else he’d probably be a non-runner but it only ever gets heavy at Kempton if it hoses down on the day. It looks like we’ll be dry after Thursday so I’m really hoping it will dry out after that, as this has been the plan for a long time."

He added: "I’ve had to get him to learn to settle before stepping him up and he settled well over two miles six furlongs at Newbury on his last run, when he saw it out really well. The natural progression was to go to three miles on an easy track and this has been on my radar for him since last year."

Unanswered Prayers will be partnered by Gordon's son, 5lb claimer Freddie, who rode Annual Invictus to success in the Great Yorkshire Chase.

Gordon said: "He’s in good order and he’s had his palate cauterised since his last run. He’s another one who I’ve always felt wants better ground, and good or good to soft would be ideal."

The Dan Skelton-trained Flegmatik was denied a neck by Our Power last year and returns having landed a third success at the track last time. Other runners in the 12-strong field include the Nicky Henderson-trained Tweed Skirt, who was an impressive course-and-distance winner at Christmas.

Cap Du Nord, the 2022 winner, will bid to regain his title for Christian Williams, while Paul Nicholls will saddle Il Ridoto. The Nicholls-trained Solo and Williams' Kitty's Light were the two who did not stand their ground at the declarations stage.

Impressive Scilly Isles Novices' Chase winner Nickle Back is also absent from Kempton's Premier card after he was not declared for the Pendil Novices' Chase (2.27).

There is still Grade 1 interest in the contest, however, with the Gary Moore-trained Henry VIII Novices' Chase winner Le Patron facing five rivals including last year's Tolworth winner Tahmuras.

Givemefive, the impressive juvenile hurdler whose owners include major-winning golfers Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell, will contest the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (1.50), in which he faces last year's Irish Derby fourth Peking Opera. A field of eight has been declared for the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices' Hurdle (3.00).

Lord North: looking for more Winter Derby glory
Lord North: looking for more Winter Derby glory Credit: Mark Cranham

At Southwell, Britain's other Premier raceday on Saturday, Lord North will face five rivals as he bids for back-to-back successes in the Winter Derby (3.20).

The multiple Group 1 winner makes his first start since winning his third Dubai Turf last March and uses the Group 3, which is being run at Southwell for the first time, as a pipe-opener before heading to the Meydan contest again.

His rivals include Military Order, who was runner-up in the race's trial last month, Quebec Stakes winner Tyrrenhian Sea and Eydon, who has not been seen since finishing fourth in the 2022 2,000 Guineas.

At Newcastle, ante-post favourite Anglers Crag heads a field of 13 for the Eider Chase (2.08) as he bids for a rapid four-timer for Brian Ellison.

The field also includes Major Dundee, who is proven in marathon contests having won last year's Midlands National, and regional National specialist Tommie Beau.

In Ireland, Randox Grand National favourite Vanillier will face just three rivals when he contests the Grade 3 Bobbyjo Chase (3.50) at Fairyhouse.

The Gavin Cromwell-trained nine-year-old, who was runner-up in the Aintree showpiece last year and as short as 8-1 for this year's edition, was second in the Bobbyjo 12 months ago and takes on Irish Grand National hero I Am Maximus, Fury Road and Minella Crooner.

Coral Trophy runners and riders

Sam Brown Jonathan Burke
Al Dancer Dylan Johnston (5)
Il Ridoto Harry Cobden
Tweed Skirt Nico de Boinville
Flegmatik Harry Skelton
Blackjack Magic Sam Twiston-Davies
Forward Plan Ben Godfrey (3)
Bowtogreatness Ben Jones
Lord Baddesley Rex Dingle
Killer Kane Brendan Powell
Unanswered Prayers Freddie Gordon (5)
Cap Du Nord Tristan Durrell (3)

Winter Derby runners and riders

Claymore Hollie Doyle
Eydon Kevin Stott
Forest Of Dean Kieran O'Neill
Lord North Rab Havlin
Tyrrhenian Sea Jack Mitchell
Military Order Danny Tudhope

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Matt RennieReporter
Scott BurtonFrance correspondent

Published on 22 February 2024inBritain

Last updated 10:45, 22 February 2024