L’Ami Serge entered for Sky Bet Chase
French Champion Hurdle winner L’Ami Serge could make his first start over fences in more than a year in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on January 27.
Connections of the Nicky Henderson-trained eight-year-old are considering using the three-mile Listed prize as a prep run for the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned gelding, who is one of 45 entries received for the £80,000 contest, has not been sighted over the bigger obstacles since finishing second in a graduation chase at Exeter in December 2016.
The pair’s racing manager Anthony Bromley said: “As long as Nicky Henderson and Daryl Jacob are happy with how he schools over the next two weeks, it is a strong consideration that he will run in the Sky Bet Chase.
“We are hoping for better ground and at this time of year there are not many places he will get that.
“It is a valuable race in its own right and he needs something between now and the Festival. He jumped those Auteuil hurdles, which are like small fences, extremely well
“The ground has been very tacky at Cheltenham so that almost certainly rules out the Cleeve (Hurdle) and the other option is the Rendlesham at Haydock, but that will be very deep ground as well.
“He will get a tentative entry in the Ryanair Chase, as it is easy to be entered now rather than supplement him later, but in all likelihood he will go for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival.”
Brian Ellison is contemplating a trip to Town Moor as the next port of call for Definitly Red, who is 10-1 co-favourite with the race sponsors.
The nine-year-old bounced back from defeat in the Charlie Hall Chase on his seasonal return with victory in a Grade Two at Aintree last month.
Ellison said: “We are weighing up the options with Definitly Red at the moment.
“He could either go for the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster or to Cheltenham on the same day.
“Where we go will be ground-dependent as he doesn’t want the going too testing.”