Regal eyes Ascot Encore

Regal Encore is on course for his title defence in the Bateaux London Gold Cup Handicap Chase, as one of 24 entries at Ascot.

The 13-year-old was victorious at 14-1 for trainer Anthony Honeyball last season, and has a remarkable record at Ascot – with four wins over course and distance to his name.

He was last seen pulling up at Punchestown in May, and Saturday’s Grade Three contest is set to be the veteran’s first run of what is likely to be his final season in training.

Ascot specialist Regal Encore
Ascot specialist Regal Encore (Nigel French/PA)

Honeyball has also entered Sojourn, an eight-year-old with form over a staying trip in wins at Market Rasen and Carlisle.

Regal Encore was beaten into second by Vinndication in the 2019 renewal of this race, and Kim Bailey’s eight-year-old is in contention again for his first start of the campaign.

Dan Skelton has a trio of possibles, with Grade One-winner Shan Blue entered alongside former Ascot scorers Bennys King and Captain Chaos.

Shan Blue (left) last season
Shan Blue (left) last season (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls may be represented by Real Steel and 2019 Midlands National winner Truckers Lodge, and Charlie Longsdon is also currently double-handed with Glen Forsa and Snow Leopardess.

Time To Get Up, the 2020 Midlands National winner, holds an entry for Jonjo O’Neill – alongside Lucinda Russell’s Uttoxeter runner-up Mighty Thunder.

Gary Moore can choose from Larry and Full Back as he seeks a third victory in this race.

Colin Tizzard’s Ascot Silver Cup winner Mister Malarky is on course to return to the scene of his last success, and Venetia Williams’ Didero Vallis may make his seasonal bow.

Nicky Henderson's Fusil Raffles
Nicky Henderson’s Fusil Raffles (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Nicky Henderson has put forward the six-year-old Fusil Raffles, who finished second to Bravemansgame at Newton Abbot this month – while Ian Williams has entered One More Fleurie, and Nigel Twiston-Davies may run Checkitout.

Mark Campion’s Dinons is entered for his second run since leaving Gordon Elliott’s yard – with Nick Gifford’s The Mighty Don, Philip Hobbs’ Jerrysback, Tom Lacey’s Johnbb and Suzy Smith’s Pilbara also in the mix for a race with a maximum field of 18.

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