King heads Gold Cup field

FOXCHAPEL KING heads the 26 entries left in the attheraces Gold Cup at Sandown on Saturday following yesterday’s confirmation stage.

Peter Beaumont has withdrawn Hussard Collonges, who had been at the head of the handicap, leaving the Mouse Morris-trained Foxchapel King set to shoulder top weight of 11st 12lb.

The weights are set to go up 4lb, which brings all but eight horses into the handicap proper.

Noel Meade has left Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup third Harbour Pilot in the £150,000 feature.

Harbour Pilot will be racing off a mark of 152 but he has since been raised to 160 following his fine effort at Cheltenham making him 8lb well-in at Sandown but Meade has warned that the eight-year-old would require some ease in the ground to run. The going at Sandown is currently described as good to firm.

Francois Doumen has left in back-to-form chaser First Gold, who recorded a very impressive success in the Martell Cognac Cup at Aintree when blinkered for the first time.

However, the 10-year-old could instead head to Ireland the following week for the Punchestown Heineken Gold Cup.

Martin Pipe has a typically strong hand in the attheraces with nine entries. They are last year’s winner Bounce Back, Scottish Grand National second Stormez, Royal Auclair, You’re Agoodun, Iznogoud, Take Control, Royal Predica, Burlu and Carryonharry.

Paul Nicholls is another trainer with multiple entries, which include Ad Hoc, the winner two years ago when the race was known as the Whitbread, and Martell Cognac Grand National fifth Montifault.

Other interesting entries include beaten Scottish Grand National favourite Gunther McBride, Spendid, third in the Ayr race and Killusty, a faller at the second Becher’s when still in contention at Aintree.

Meanwhile Sagitta 2000 Guineas entry Tacitus was one of four three-year-olds added to the Sandown Park Classic Trial after it was reopened on Saturday.

A total of nine entries were originally made for Friday’s £60,000 Group Three contest including Charles Cyzer’s Newbury winner Strength’n Honour and the promising Silver Gilt from John Gosden’s Manton yard.

Also added yesterday to the Classic Trial were Neville Callaghan’s Magistretti, narrow winner of Thursday’s bet365 Feilden Stakes and a Vodafone Derby entry, and the Peter Harris-trained Persian Majesty, winner of a Newmarket maiden on his only start as a youngster.

Inch Again, Orange Touch, Roskilde, Shield, Summerland, Titurel, Weavers Pride and Rejess complete the list.

The £60,000 Concept Hurdle was also reopened and has attracted three more entries making eight in all headed by Nicky Henderson’s Geos and the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Quazar.

Copeland, winner of the equivalent race 12 months ago, has been entered once again by champion trainer Martin Pipe, while Paul Nicholls has put Santenay in the class B contest.

The other entries are Ben Ewar, Scented Air, Jalons Star and Mantles Prince.

Singapore’s big international races scheduled for May 17 have been called off because of the SARS outbreak.

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