La Bague Au Roi bidding for win number ten in Grade 2
La Bague Au Roi will be bidding to bring her winning haul into double figures when she takes on five rivals in the Grade 2 OLBG.com Mares' Hurdle (1.50) at Ascot on Saturday.
Trainer Warren Greatrex said: “I don’t think I’ve ever hidden what I think of La Bague Au Roi, and for any horse to win nine from 12 they have to be pretty smart.
“She is such a tall horse and has taken her time to become strong enough to carry her frame. I was always worried in the early days about soft ground but she handled it at Wetherby and again at Kempton.
"She has definitely shown improvement since we stepped her up to three miles but she also has the speed to win over two. She is just a good mare. Ascot is more of a staying track which should suit her, because at Kempton the further she went the further she was going to win.”
Pete out to hit winning note again
Guitar Pete, winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham last month, a race marred by the life-ending injury sustained by Starchitect, is on the trail of another big prize in the bet365 Handicap Chase (3.00).
Again the mount of Ryan Day, the rejuvenated eight-year-old - a Grade 1 winner over hurdles early in his career for trainer Sandra Hughes - will be making his 40th appearance and trainer Nicky Richards said: "Guitar Pete has done us proud this season and is ready for another run.
"Tomorrow's race is a valuable one and we thought it was a suitable target for him."
Moore's French connection
Et Moi Alors, well regarded by trainer Gary Moore, makes his debut against five rivals, including previous winners Nayati and Oistrakh Le Noir, in the opener, the Horse Comes First Juvenile Hurdle (12.40).
In a recent RUK interview Moore claimed not to know the horse’s name but he has clarified that memory lapse, putting it down to pronunciation difficulties rather than amnesia.
Moore explained: “It’s not that I forgot his name – it’s simply that I couldn’t pronounce it! Don’t worry though, I’ve had plenty of French lessons since.
“Et Moi Alors is a nice horse for the future. He does everything nicely at home. Whether he’s good enough to win first time out at Ascot, I don’t know. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he won as he shows a very good attitude in his work.”
Bowen bids for more big-race glory
James Bowen, successful on Raz De Maree in the Welsh National two weeks ago and on William Henry in the Lanzarote Hurdle last weekend, will be seeking a third big handicap win in as many weeks when he partners the Nicky Henderson-trained Jenkins in the Ascot Spring Garden Show Holloway's Handicap Hurdle (2.25).
A three-time hurdles winner, Jenkins achieved his most recent success when scoring by five lengths at Kempton a week ago. Blinkered for the first time on that occasion, the six-year-old is similarly equipped in Saturday's 14-runner event.
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