Moore pair Ascot possibles but Mad goes straight to festival
It was a case of one in, one out for trainer Gary Moore as new recruit Camping Ground joined Traffic Fluide as a possible runner in the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase this month, but Ar Mad will not be running after meeting with a setback.
Camping Ground was an impressive winner of the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle last year for Robert Walford, but has failed to add to that victory since and moved to Moore after finishing fifth in his attempt to retain the race this year.
Injury has prevented Traffic Fluide from running since he finished third in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot last season and he is a 14-1 chance with Betfair Sportsbook to make a winning return on February 18. Camping Ground is 20-1 with the same firm.
Moore said: “Camping Ground is in his third week with us. We haven’t done enough with him to know too much about him but he’s clearly a very good horse and deserves to be in this race.
“Traffic Fluide did a very good piece of work on Tuesday and I just hope he stays in one piece and progresses from that. We always have to take it little by little with him. There’s every chance he could go to Newbury for the Game Spirit Chase [on February 11], but I won’t know until closer to the time.”
Ar Mad will not be heading to Ascot though, with Moore setting his sights on getting the seven-year-old ready for the Cheltenham Festival next month, where he holds entries in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase.
“Ar Mad had a little setback and wouldn’t have been ready to run at Ascot so we’ll focus on trying to get him ready for Cheltenham,” Moore added.
Last year’s winner Silviniaco Conti and Cue Card head 14 entries for the Ascot Chase.
There were 36 entries for the Grade 3 BetBright Chase at Kempton on February 25, with former winners Opening Batsman and Theatre Guide among the possible runners.
Antony is on target for the race having been freshened up by Moore following a below-par run at Newbury in November.
The trainer said: “He doesn’t take his racing that well. He puts a lot into his races and a lot into his work at home as well. He’s been training good, he looks great and hopefully he’ll be fresh and well and give a good account of himself at Kempton.”