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Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Four horses with the potential to light up Ascot on Saturday

Wayne Hutchinson drives for home on Elgin in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle
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Saturday is the last day of racing before a two-day Christmas break and the presents have come early at Ascot with a valuable card featuring the JLT Reve De Sivola Long Walk Hurdle and the Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle. Here we pick out four horses who have the potential to light up the day.

The Gary Moore-trained five-year-old has made a promising start to his chase career following up a victory in a warm novice handicap at Ascot with another in a three-runner contest at Plumpton.

He idled a touch last time and promises to be much better suited by the likely bigger field in the Sodexo Graduation Chase, although he does have the option of running in the Grade 2 novice chase at the track on Friday.

The stable are on the lookout for the next star with Sire De Grugy set to be retired, and Benatar looks one of the likelier types to fill the void with the JLT a possible Cheltenham Festival target.

Last year's scorer is on a retrieval mission in the JLT Reve De Sivola Long Walk Hurdle after finishing runner-up behind shock winner Beer Goggles in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

That was only his second defeat in 12 starts for Harry Fry – the other coming when third behind Nichols Canyon at Cheltenham in March – and the ultra-consistent nine-year-old has been made favourite in the first shows for Saturday's Grade 1.

Market leader for the Stayers' Hurdle in some quarters, his festival odds could come under pressure if he does not get back to winning ways.

Go Conquer
Set for a return to the track in the Lavazza Silver Cup having created a favourable impression with a dominant front-running display in last month's Sodexo Gold Cup.

The bold jumping Jonjo O'Neill-trained chaser is two from two for the season after winning in similar fashion on his comeback at Fontwell.

Described as a potential Grand National horse following his latest success, he would be a fitting big-race winner for owners Paul and Clare Rooney following Starchitect's fatal injury at Cheltenham.

Could head the weights for the Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle – a race formerly known as the Ladbroke – after winning the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.

The Alan King-trained five-year-old, owned by the Elite Racing Club, had previously won a competitive Listed race at the course and the form of those two victories has been well franked.

Elgin has been put up 6lb for his Greatwood success but he sets a high standard and another victory in a big handicap would have to put him in the Champion Hurdle reckoning.

Ascot Saturday entries 

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The stable are on the lookout for the next star with Sire De Grugy set to be retired, and Benatar looks one of the likelier types to fill the void
E.W. Terms
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