Safe ground permitting, Ahoy Senor looks set to return in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby

Ahoy Senor look set for a mouthwatering clash with Bravemansgame in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday – providing the ground is “safe”.

Ahoy Senor was expertly handled by Lucinda Russell in his novice campaign last term, culminating in victory in the Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree.

That race saw the seven-year-old emphatically turned around chase form with Paul Nicholls' Bravemansgame and the Venetia Williams-trained L'Homme Presse, having been runner-up to each of those rivals in the Kauto Star and Brown Advisory respectively.

Trained just south of Perth at Kinross, the pride of Scotland is third-favourite for a number of firms for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

But first he heads to Wetherby for the track's feature race of the season, worth £100,000.

"As long as the ground is safe - around good to soft - we will go to Wetherby," said Russell's partner and assistant, Peter Scudamore.

"He is in good form and this looks a good starting point for him. He's come back having summered well and we're looking forward to it."

Dashel Drasher, who won the Ascot Chase in 2021, Haldon Gold Cup and Denman Chase winner Eldorado Allen, Rowland Meyrick scorer Good Boy Bobby, Greatwood Gold Cup hero Paint The Dream, and Win My Wings, who landed the Scottish Grand National for Christian Williams, also feature, with the 10-strong list of possibles completed by Sam Brown, Secret Investor and Some Chaos.

Wetherby's clerk of the course, Jonjo Sanderson, says the ground at Wetherby will be ideal jumping ground.

"We're good to soft, good in places, having had 18 millimetres of rain yesterday in two quite heavy spells," Sanderson said on Monday.

"We had 6mm on Friday night into Saturday and then we had 21mm on Thursday, so it's had a decent dumping over the last few days.

"We've got a dry couple of days ahead of us, I think, and then potentially there's some rain coming in on Thursday night into Friday morning, a dry day Friday and then some rain on Friday night into Saturday morning and then a dry day Saturday.

"If that maps out the way it's looking, that would be ideal circumstances, really. I wouldn't mind some more rain.

"It's predominantly good to soft now and if you'd asked me if I thought we'd be good to soft this time last week I'd have said 'goodness no', and we'd be watering like mad, but thankfully that rain has come.

"We're very pleased with the entries for the Charlie Hall - it's what that race and jumps season deserves, isn't it? Friday's card is pretty strong as well, so we're looking forward to it."

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