Gordon Lord Byron will be prepared for a trip to Hong Kong in December after a potential Breeders’ Cup mission failed to materialise.
Tom Hogan’s stable star produced a telling turn of foot to secure another big prize on Champions Day at Ascot earlier this month, after which the trainer suggested a possible appearance at Santa Anita could come under consideration.
However, the six-year-old will instead head back to the Far East, having finished fourth in the Hong Kong Mile for the last two years.
Hogan said: “He didn’t get an entry at the Breeders’ Cup. He wasn’t nominated and the whole operation was a bit prohibitive, money-wise.
“It’s a shame, but hopefully he might go there (America) next year.
“He came back from Ascot in great shape and, all going well, he’ll run in Hong Kong on December 14.
“He’ll be entered for the Hong Kong Mile and the Sprint and we’ll make up our minds on which way we’ll go nearer the time.”
Silviniaco Conti and First Lieutenant are two of the star names among 11 horses confirmed for the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase on Saturday.
Silviniaco Conti claimed the Wetherby highlight two years ago for champion trainer Paul Nicholls and is set to return to West Yorkshire to warm up for a likely tilt at the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
Nicholls could also run Rocky Creek, not seen since finishing fifth in the Grand National in the spring.
The Mouse Morris-trained First Lieutenant is the sole Irish contender for the Grade Two over three miles and a furlong.
The Grade One-winning hurdler and chaser ran some tremendous races in defeat last season, placing in the Lexus Chase and the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown, as well as the Punchestown Gold Cup.
Last year’s Charlie Hall winner Harry Topper could defend his crown for Kim Bailey, while in-form trainer Philip Hobbs may call upon talented chaser Menorah.
Cheltenham Festival winner Taquin Du Seuil could aim to get his campaign back on track after a disappointing reappearance at Newton Abbot for Jonjo O’Neill.
Ballypatrick, Double Ross, Medermit, The Giant Bolster and Wayward Prince complete the list.
Nicky Henderson is giving serious consideration to the idea of letting Bobs Worth have an outing over hurdles.
The 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner has a trip to Ireland at Christmas for the Lexus Chase as his first major objective of the season but where he runs before then has been giving Henderson a headache.
He ran a rare poor race in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last year, after which Henderson suggested he was not suited by the track, and the trainer is not keen on him lugging top weight in the Hennessy Gold Cup.
“The first big target for Bob is the Lexus in Ireland after Christmas which he won last year, but getting him there is not easy,” he told The Times.
“We’re not discounting the Betfair Chase, but it went wrong there last year.
“I have it in my mind to give him a run over hurdles. I let Bob and Sprinter (Sacre) go over some hurdles the other day and it encouraged the thought.
“Carrying top weight in the Hennessy is a horrible idea, so we may look at the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on the same day (November 29).”
More Of That, unbeaten winner of the Ladrokes World Hurdle, heads 10 entries for the bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby on Saturday.
The six-year-old, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, overcame relative inexperience to take the Cheltenham showpiece on only his fifth start back in March.
More Of That had At Fishers Cross, also owned by JP McManus, back in third place that day and Rebecca Curtis’ charge could renew rivalry in the Grade Two which is registered as the West Yorkshire Hurdle.
Paul Nicholls’s Zarkandar and the Alan King-trained Medinas, fourth and seventh respectively in the World Hurdle, may take up the challenge, while another Cheltenham Festival scorer, the Philip Hobbs-trained Fingal Bay, is also in the mix.
Emma Lavelle has given her smart young staying chaser Shotgun Paddy an entry.
Cole Harden, Oscar Rock, Trustan Times and the sole Irish hopeful, Jimmy Lambe’s Action Master, are also in contention.
Grey Gold may have his next race, ground permitting, at Cheltenham next monthfollowing his comeback win at Chepstow on Saturday.
The nine-year-old, trained by Richard Lee, returned in triumph first time out this season after a 245-day absence to land a competitive two-mile handicap chase from Upsilon Bleu.
The Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on November 16 is the next possible race for Grey Gold though the Jenny Mould Memorial Handicap Chase there on December 13 may be a more likely target granted plenty of give in the ground.
Connections, though, will first see how the handicapper reacts to his latest success.
“We have to wrap him up in a bit of cotton wool because of his legs, but he has come out of the race very well,” said Lee’s wife Carol.
“I don’t think there’s anything for him now except the Shloer at Cheltenham in November and I don’t think we’re going to get the ground because there’s a dry week forecast this week. It would probably be too quick for him.
“We have a look at the Jenny Mould on December 13, but we are going to wait and see what the handicapper does.”
Restless Harry is set to make his seasonal reappearance in the United House Gold Cup at Ascot on Saturday.
Trainer Robin Dickin is delighted with his stable star ahead of his return to action and is keeping his fingers crossed for some ease in the ground.
Dickin said: “He’s an intended starter on Saturday, as long as the word ’firm’ isn’t in the going description.
“He’s in very good shape and in really good order at the moment, so we’re looking forward to getting started with him.”
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