La Bague Au Roi could enter Stayers' Hurdle picture with Ascot success

Fri 19 Jan 2018

By staff

La Bague Au Roi will bid to complete a hat-trick of wins this season by landing the biggest success of her career in the Mares' Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.

The Warren Greatrex-trained mare will attempt to claim a first victory at Grade Two level in the extended two-mile-seven-furlong contest, having bagged the fourth Listed triumph of her career on her first start over three miles at Kempton.

The Lambourn handler said: "I don't think the ground is as much of an issue as it was with her. She is top-rated on 149 and is in really good form. She obviously stayed very well at Kempton and was actually pulling clear at the end."

Greatrex added: "I think Ascot might suit her even more. She has been winning and winning well, and both Richard Johnson and myself think there is plenty more to come, especially over this trip.

"I trained her brother Kaysersberg and he was a proper stayer, but she has showed she has got the speed for two miles and plenty of stamina. She is probably just coming into her element and seems a lot stronger now.

"If she won then she would end up rated in the mid-150s and that would put her right in the mix for the Stayers' Hurdle, especially with her mares' allowance."

Ben Case believes the step up in trip will suit Graceful Legend in her bid to land a second victory at the Berkshire track this season, having scored there in November.

He said: "Warren Greatrex's horse is way ahead on the official ratings, but everything else is off a similar rating.

"It is a good prize and I've always said you shouldn't be frightened of one horse. Whether we are good enough is a different matter.

"The step up in trip should suit her. She is quite a tough, hardy filly that is going the right way.

"She won at Ascot in November and was not stopping that day over two-mile-five and finished well up the hill at Cheltenham, which suggests she will be better over further.

"I don't see why she doesn't have a decent each-way chance."

The bet365 Festival - Hennessy Gold Cup Day - Newbury Racecourse Greatrex expects Ascot to suit La Bague Au Roi (PA)

Anthony Honeyball feels Midnight Tune is capable of springing a surprise in conditions which will play to her strengths, as she attempts to follow up recent victories at Wincanton and Kempton.

He said: "There is not a lot else for her. It is a valuable mares-only race over nearly three miles, so it is a no-brainer.

"She seems in very good order and seems to be at the top of her game. If we are going to take on a race like this, now is the time to do it.

"It will probably be her Gold Cup if she got in the first three, but on that ground you never know what might happen."

The field is completed by Dusky Legend (Alan King), Hitherjacques Lady (Oliver Sherwood) and Sainte Ladylime (Kim Bailey).

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