Six Aon Chase rivals for Ruby

DENMAN will face six rivals at Kempton today including King George VI runner-up Albertas Run, whose connections are hoping the ground is not too testing.

Jonjo O’Neill’s charge was runner-up to Kauto Star over course and distance on Stephen’s Day.

“At least we know he likes the track. He’s in great form, it’s just that we are aiming for the best ground possible,” said Michael Meagher, racing manager to owner Trevor Hemmings.

“Jonjo’s going to walk the track in the morning and decide whether he’s going to run. If it’s too testing he won’t run.”

Trabolgan, trained by Nicky Henderson, also runs in the Hemmings colours. He was having his first race since winning the Hennessy when pulled up behind Niche Market at Ascot in December.

“He needs to run somewhere. He’s OK, but he was a long time off before his last run,” Meagher continued.

“He just took a week or two to recover, but we are desperate to run him.”

The soft ground will, however, suit Joe Lively, who emerged as a Gold Cup contender with victory in the Letheby & Christopher Chase at Cheltenham.

“The ground should be ideal for us and he’s won the Feltham at Kempton. He’s a versatile horse. “After this there’s about a month before the Gold Cup. It will give us plenty of time to freshen him up.”

David Pipe's pair – Madison Du Berlais and An Accordion and the Bob Buckler trained Niche Market complete the line-up.

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