Strong Irish squad for The Ladbroke

Noel Meade is considering a tilt at The Ladbroke at Ascot for recent Fairyhouse scorer Waxies Dargle.

Strong Irish squad for The Ladbroke

The five-year-old, who carries the colours of leading owner JP McManus, was an impressive winner on his latest appearance at Fairyhouse last month, having previously shaped with promise in a competitive handicap at Down Royal.

The five-year-old is part of a six-strong Irish entry for the £150,000 contest, with a total of 41 horses in contention for the December 20 event.

Meade said: “We will have to see what weight we get, what has top-weight and what the race is looking like before we commit, but The Ladbroke is something we will consider for Waxies Dargle.

“He has taken his race at Fairyhouse well and is in good form. On ratings, he was entitled to win it and he did it well enough.

“I think he is a nice horse and we hoped he had improved a bit coming into this season because some of the horses were not quite right in the spring.

“If the ground is soft at Ascot, I would say that will not be an inconvenience to him.”

Willie Mullins has entered Greatwood Hurdle third Clondaw Warrior, while Gordon Elliott has both Bayan and Shadow Catcher on the list.

The Irish contenders are completed by the Tony Martin-trained Pyromaniac and Sea Beat from Arthur Moore’s stable.

Sign Of A Victory is the 5-1 favourite following his hugely impressive victory in the Listed William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on November 1.

His trainer Nicky Henderson,has recorded three triumphs in The Ladbroke since it was moved to Ascot in 2001, courtesy of Chauvinist (2002), Jack The Giant (2007) and Sentry Duty (2008).

The Seven Barrows handler has also entered Vyta Du Roc, Lyvius, Dawalan, Cool Macavity and Snake Eyes.

Dan Skelton took last year’s renewal with Willow’s Saviour in his debut season as a trainer and could rely on Chepstow Silver Trophy winner Shelford.

Other possibles include Philip Hobbs’ Greatwood Hurdle hero Garde La Victoire, potential top-weight Zamdy Man, trained by Venetia Williams, and Jonjo O’Neill’s Goodwood Mirage.

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