French star Alex De Larredya features among strong overseas entry for Ascot’s Christmas Weekend on December 16 & 17

 

Entries are unveiled today for the three richest contests at Ascot’s exciting Christmas Weekend, which takes place on Friday and Saturday, December 16 and 17.

 

There are 26 entries for the Grade One highlight, the extended three-mile £100,000 JLT Long Walk Hurdle (2.25pm), staged on Saturday, December 17.

 

Yanworth (Alan King) is already a dual winner at Ascot, having taken the G2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (2m) at this meeting last year and the G2 Coral Hurdle (nearly two and a half miles) on his reappearance this season on November 19, when he saw off the persistent challenge of Lil Rockerfeller (Neil King) by three-quarters of a length. The six-year-old would be stepping up to three miles for the first time in the JLT Long Walk Hurdle.

 

Unowhatimeanharry (Harry Fry) extended his unbeaten sequence over hurdles to six when taking the G2 Long Distance Hurdle over a similar trip at Newbury on November 25, when he had Ballyoptic (Nigel Twiston-Davies) six lengths back in second.

 

A strong overseas flavour to the JLT Long Walk Hurdle entries is provided by eight Irish-trained hopefuls and one raider from France.

 

The French-trained contender is Alex De Larredya (Francois Nicolle). The six-year-old was last seen out when the very impressive seven-length winner of the G1 Grand Prix D’Automne over three miles at Auteuil on November 5, when he had Ptit Zig (Paul Nicholls) back in third.

 

He reversed form with Ptit Zig, having been the two-length runner-up to that rival in the G1 Grande Course De Haies D’Auteuil back in June.

 

Anthony Bromley, racing manager to owner Simon Munir, commented: “The plan is for Alex De Larredya to go over to Ascot for the JLT Long Walk Hurdle.

 

“The long-term aim is to go for the Grand Course De Haies D’Auteuil again. He has run in September, October and November, so the Long Walk would fit into his programme as the final race before he goes off for a winter break.

 

“With the Long Walk being a Grade One, the conditions of the race suit him as a Grade One winner and so we thought we could keep him ticking him over for it.

 

“Daryl (Jacob) will be going over to France to sit on him and school him over some English-style hurdles.

 

“Obviously, we have had to make the entry now just under a month away, but in principle if all goes well we will be coming over.

 

“He is an interesting horse in that he was second to Ptit Zig in the Grande Course De Haies D’Auteuil in June and then turned the tables on his rival last time out. It is going to be a tough-looking Long Walk.”

 

Among the Irish-trained contingent are recent narrow G1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle runner-up Apple’s Jade (Gordon Elliott), who won G1 contests at Aintree and Punchestown in the spring but has yet to start over a distance further than two miles and a furlong.

 

The ever-powerful Willie Mullins team could be represented by last season’s G1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle victor Vroum Vroum Mag and Shaneshill, who reverted to hurdles after finishing runner-up in the 2016 RSA Chase.

 

The now veteran Reve De Sivola (Nick Williams) loves Ascot and the JLT Long Walk Hurdle. The 11-year-olds finished runner-up to the great Thistlecrack in 2015 and won the G1 race in 2014, 2013 and 2012. West Approach (Colin Tizzard), a half-brother to Thistlecrack, is another contender.

 

The £150,000 Grade Three Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle (3.35pm), staged over two miles on Saturday, December 17, is always one of the most competitive and high-profile races of the entire season and has attracted 37 entries, including 11 from Ireland.

 

This year’s renewal could see a rematch between Jolly’s Cracked It (Harry Fry) and Sternrubin (Philip Hobbs), who famously dead-heated for first place in the 2015 renewal.

 

The strong Irish-trained contingent includes Golden Spear (Tony Martin) who has been in great form on the Flat with victories in a valuable contest at the Galway Festival in July and last time out in the Irish November Handicap.

 

The Irish challenge also includes recent G3 scorer Labaik (Gordon Elliott), 2015 Galway Hurdle victor Quick Jack (Tony Martin) and Campeador (Gordon Elliott), who was last seen when falling at the last when mounting a strong challenge in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

 

Very valuable handicap chase action on December 17 is provided by the £100,000 Listed Silver Cup (3pm) over three miles, for which there are 45 entries.

 

A high-class entry includes G1 scorer Menorah (Philip Hobbs) and Irish Cavalier (Rebecca Curtis), who got the better of Menorah when taking the G2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in October.

 

Smart second-season chasers Otago Trail (Venetia Williams), successful in the Listed Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on November 26, and recent Aintree scorer Thomas Brown (Harry Fry) also feature among the entries along with More Of That (Jonjo O’Neill), winner of the World Hurdle in 2014 who disappointed when favourite for the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 12

 

Ascot is offering a bonus of £10,000 to any horse placed in the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel on September 14 that goes on to win the Silver Cup (a bonus of £2,000 is offered if any such horse is placed in the Silver Cup).

 

Rightville Boy (Patrick Neville) was runner-up in the Guinness Kerry National on September 14 before going on to take fourth in the Munster National at Limerick on October 9.

 

County Limerick-based Neville is planning a trip to Ascot for the eight-year-old, who is a four-time winner in Ireland.

 

Neville said: “I am hoping to run Rightville Boy in the Silver Cup at Ascot next month, all being well.

 

“There is nice bonus on offer and it is a nice race to go for. He hasn’t run for the last month and half, to help freshen him up for Ascot.

 

“I think the three miles should be fine for him as he has been second in a Kerry National and fourth in the Munster National.

 

“He is a very good jumper. He wants soft ground and has won on heavy ground, while when he won at Killarney it was yielding.

 

“He jumps and stays. If you are in, you have to take your chance.”

 

Racing commences at 12.40 pm on Saturday, December 17. Weights for the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle and the Silver Cup will be revealed on Wednesday, December 7.

 

Ascot’s Christmas Weekend commences on Friday, December 16 (first race 12.45pm), when the highlights are the £32,000 G2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (1.55pm) and the £32,000 G2 Mitie Noel Novices’ Chase (2.30pm).

 

Away from the track on the Saturday, there is plenty to keep everyone entertained. Mulled wine, mince pies, carol singing and a special visit from Father Christmas, plus free Fairground Rides such as Train Ride, Swing Boats and Tea Cups, are among the attractions on offer. For more information go to www.ascot.co.uk

 

Christmas Saturday is a designated family day at Ascot and, as usual, accompanied children under 18 admitted free.

The JLT Long Walk Hurdle

Grade 1, £100,000 total prize fund. Three miles and half a furlong (3m 97y), 2.25pm, Ascot, Saturday, December 17. For four-year-olds and upwards. Weights: 11st 7lb, fillies and mares allowed 7lb. Entries closed November 29, entries revealed November 30 (26 entries), five-day confirmations December 12, final declarations 10am December 15. Maximum field 18 runners.

Horse Age Owner Trainer
ADRIEN DU PONT (FR) 4 Mrs Johnny de la Hey Paul Nicholls
ALEX DE LARREDYA (FR) 6 Simon Munir Francois Nicolle FR
APPLE’S JADE (FR) 4 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
BALLYOPTIC (IRE) 6 Mills & Mason Partnership Nigel Twiston-Davies
DE PLOTTING SHED (IRE) 6 Ives/Ashley/Vasey Partnership Gordon Elliott IRE
DEDIGOUT (IRE) 10 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
IRISH SAINT (FR) 7 Mrs Johnny de la Hey Paul Nicholls
KOTKIKOVA (FR) 5 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
LIL ROCKERFELLER (USA) 5 Davies Smith Govier & Brown Neil King
MONKSLAND (IRE) 9 Patricia Hunt Noel Meade IRE
NICHOLS CANYON 6 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
PTIT ZIG (FR) 7 Chris Giles & B Fulton Paul Nicholls
REVE DE SIVOLA (FR) 11 Paul Duffy Diamond Partnership Nick Williams
RONS DREAM 6 Tania Stepney Peter Bowen
SHADES OF MIDNIGHT 6 The Potassium Partnership Donald Whillans
SHANESHILL (IRE) 7 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
SHELFORD (IRE) 7 Carl Hodgson Dan Skelton
SNOW FALCON (IRE) 6 Patricia Hunt Noel Meade IRE
SURTEE DU BERLAIS (IRE) 6 Sue Griffiths Oliver Sherwood
THE ROMFORD PELE (IRE) 9 Trembath & Outhart Rebecca Curtis
UN TEMPS POUR TOUT (IRE) 7 Professor Caroline Tisdall & Bryan Drew David Pipe
UNOWHATIMEANHARRY 8 J P McManus Harry Fry
VROUM VROUM MAG (FR) 7 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
WEST APPROACH 6 John and Heather Snook Colin Tizzard
YANWORTH 6 J P McManus Alan King
ZARKANDAR (IRE) 9 Potensis Bloodstock Ltd & Chris Giles Paul Nicholls

 

26 entries

8 Irish-trained

1 French-trained

 


 

The Silver Cup Handicap Chase

Listed, £100,000 total prize fund. Three miles (2m 7f 180y), 3.00pm, Ascot, Saturday, December 17. For four-year-olds and upwards. Penalties: after December 4, a winner of a chase 5lb; no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed November 29, entries revealed November 30 (45 entries), weights revealed December 7, five-day confirmations December 12, final declarations 10am December 15. Maximum field 18 runners.

Horse Age Owner Trainer
ALOOMOMO (FR) 6 The Large G & T Partnership Warren Greatrex
AMORE ALATO 7 Sarah Faulks Johnny Farrelly
ANNACOTTY (IRE) 8 Mrs Peter Prowting Alan King
ANOTHER HERO (IRE) 7 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
BALLYNAGOUR (IRE) 10 Allan Stennett David Pipe
COCKTAILS AT DAWN 8 Robin Geffen & Sir John Ritblat Nicky Henderson
DOCTOR HARPER (IRE) 8 The Johnson Family David Pipe
DOING FINE (IRE) 8 Ashley Carr Neil Mulholland
EDUARD (IRE) 8 Eddie Melville Nicky Richards
FLETCHERS FLYER (IRE) 8 Masterson Holdings Limited Harry Fry
FOURTH ACT (IRE) 7 Wendy & Malcolm Hezel Colin Tizzard
GO CONQUER (IRE) 7 Paul & Clare Rooney Jonjo O’Neill
HADRIAN’S APPROACH (IRE) 9 Richard & Lizzie Kelvin-Hughes Nicky Henderson
HENRYVILLE 8 R P B Michaelson & E M Thornton Harry Fry
HOLYWELL (IRE) 9 Gay Smith Jonjo O’Neill
HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (FR) 9 Mrs Julian Blackwell Venetia Williams
IRISH CAVALIER (IRE) 7 A McIver Rebecca Curtis
IRISH SAINT (FR) 7 Mrs Johnny de la Hey Paul Nicholls
KATKEAU (FR) 9 Prof C Tisdall, J A Gent, R C Wilkin David Pipe
KNOCK HOUSE (IRE) 7 Tim Leslie Donald McCain
LE MERCUREY (FR) 6 Chris Giles & Colm Donlon Paul Nicholls
MENORAH (IRE) 11 Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs
MINELLA DADDY (IRE) 6 Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar Peter Bowen
MINELLA ROCCO (IRE) 6 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
MORE OF THAT (IRE) 8 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
OTAGO TRAIL (IRE) 8 Marie Shone Venetia Williams
PRESENT MAN (IRE) 6 Woodhouse & Sutton Paul Nicholls
REGAL ENCORE (IRE) 8 J P McManus Anthony Honeyball
RELENTLESS DREAMER (IRE) 7 Nigel Morris Rebecca Curtis
RIGHTVILLE BOY (IRE) 8 Patrick Neville Patrick Neville IRE
RUBEN COTTER (IRE) 10 Exors of the Late Graham Roach Paul Nicholls
SAPHIR DU RHEU (FR) 7 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
SAUSALITO SUNRISE (IRE) 8 Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs
SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR (IRE) 9 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
SOUTHFIELD THEATRE (IRE) 8 Angela Yeoman Paul Nicholls
TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR) 9 Boultbee Brooks Ltd Venetia Williams
THE DRUIDS NEPHEW (IRE) 9 The Stonehenge Druids Neil Mulholland
THOMAS BROWN 7 The Corse Lawners Harry Fry
TRIOLO D’ALENE (FR) 9 Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr Nicky Henderson
UN TEMPS POUR TOUT (IRE) 7 Professor Caroline Tisdall & Bryan Drew David Pipe
VIBRATO VALTAT (FR) 7 Axom XLIII Paul Nicholls
VOLNAY DE THAIX (FR) 7 Judy Wilson Nicky Henderson
VYTA DU ROC (FR) 7 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
WALDORF SALAD 8 Alan Parker Venetia Williams
YALA ENKI (FR) 6 Hills of Ledbury (Aga) Venetia Williams

 

45 entries

1 Irish-trained

 


 

The Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle

Grade 3, £150,000 total prize fund. Two miles (1m 7f 152y), 3.35pm, Ascot, Saturday, December 17. For four-year-olds and upwards. Penalties: after December 4, a winner of a chase 5lb; no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed November 29, entries revealed November 30 (37 entries), weights revealed December 7, five-day confirmations December 12, final declarations 10am December 15. Maximum field 21 runners.

Horse Age Owner Trainer
ADRIEN DU PONT (FR) 4 Mrs Johnny de la Hey Paul Nicholls
ALL SET TO GO (IRE) 5 Exors of the Late Graham Roach Paul Nicholls
BERTIMONT (FR) 6 Chris Giles Dan Skelton
BRAIN POWER (IRE) 5 Michael Buckley Nicky Henderson
CAMPEADOR (FR) 4 J P McManus Gordon Elliott IRE
CHESTERFIELD (IRE) 6 The Rumble Racing Club Seamus Mullins
CH’TIBELLO (FR) 5 The Can’t Say No Partnership Dan Skelton
CONSUL DE THAIX (FR) 4 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
COPY THAT (IRE) 5 J P McManus Eddie Harty IRE
DE NAME ESCAPES ME (IRE) 6 J P McManus Noel Meade IRE
DIEGO DU CHARMIL (FR) 4 Mrs Johnny de la Hey Paul Nicholls
FERGALL (IRE) 9 Andrew Cocks And Tara Johnson Seamus Mullins
GOLDEN SPEAR 5 Newtown Anner Stud Farm Tony Martin IRE
GRAASTEN (GER) 4 Galloping On The South Downs Partnership Gary Moore
HARGAM (FR) 5 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
INDIETIR (FR) 4 A Brooks Dan Skelton
JOLLY’S CRACKED IT (FR) 7 GDM Partnership Harry Fry
LABAIK (FR) 5 A J O’Ryan Gordon Elliott IRE
LE ROCHER (FR) 6 John White & Anne Underhill Nick Williams
MEET THE LEGEND 5 Highclere Thoroughbred Racing – Legend Dan Skelton
MICK JAZZ (FR) 5 G P Mahoney & Gordon Elliott Gordon Elliott IRE
MODUS 6 J P McManus Paul Nicholls
OLD GUARD 5 The Brooks, Stewart Families & J Kyle Paul Nicholls
PYROMANIAC (IRE) 6 Newtown Anner Stud Farm Tony Martin IRE
QUICK JACK (IRE) 7 John Breslin Tony Martin IRE
RAYVIN BLACK 7 R White & V J Walsh Oliver Sherwood
RENNETI (FR) 7 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
SAM RED (FR) 5 M Rashdi, Blue Grey Chevron, C Hodgson Dan Skelton
STERNRUBIN (GER) 5 Terry Warner Philip Hobbs
UNISON (IRE) 6 J P Carrington Jeremy Scott
VOICES OF SPRING (IRE) 6 J P McManus Tony Martin IRE
WAXIES DARGLE 7 J P McManus Noel Meade IRE
WHO DARES WINS (IRE) 4 HP Racing Who Dares Wins Alan King
WILLOW’S SAVIOUR 9 Triple F Partnership Dan Skelton
WINTER ESCAPE (IRE) 5 J P McManus Alan King
WOLF OF WINDLESHAM (IRE) 4 M W Lawrence Stuart Edmunds
ZUBAYR (IRE) 4 P J Vogt Paul Nicholls

 

37 entries

11 Irish-trained 

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