Cheltenham Festival
Ahoy Senor set to clash with L’Homme Presse in Ascot Chase as he begins to return to form

Ahoy Senor set to clash with L’Homme Presse in Ascot Chase as he begins to return to form

Ahoy Senor, a two-time Grade 1 winner, has historically performed best in the second half of the season. In the recent Cotswold Chase, he displayed a return to form following subpar showings in the Coral Gold Cup and Charlie Hall Chase earlier in the term.

The upcoming 2m5f trip at Ascot will mark Ahoy Senor’s shortest distance attempt since his 2m7½f Grade 2 novice chase win at Newbury in November 2021, potentially influencing his connections’ decision between the Ryanair Chase and Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival next month. Trainer Lucinda Russell stated, “The plan is to give him a run at Ascot.

He’s only just started to come back to himself, and I think this will be good for him before Cheltenham. I don’t know which of the two races we’re going to go for at Cheltenham yet, and we’ll keep our options open.”

Russell acknowledged Ahoy Senor’s preference for left-handed tracks but expressed optimism despite reservations about Ascot being a right-handed course. She highlighted the positives from his fourth-place finish in the Cotswold Chase and emphasized his improved performance, noting a stirrup leather malfunction that hindered his finishing effort.

Derek Fox, who has returned from injury, is set to reunite with Ahoy Senor for the Ascot Chase, renewing rivalry with favorite L’Homme Presse. Russell expressed her respect for L’Homme Presse, acknowledging their history in races such as the Brown Advisory at Cheltenham and the King George won by Bravemansgame.

Additionally, Apple Away, another contender trained by Russell, has multiple options for the forthcoming Cheltenham races. Apple Away’s second-place finish in the Grade 2 Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick last month showcased her potential to utilize the mares’ allowance.

Russell commented, “She’s very likely to go, and a bit more experience will be good for her.”

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