Nicky Henderson gives L'Ami Serge Doncaster option

Mon 22 Jan 2018

L'Ami Serge could revert to fences on Saturday with the Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster one of two options over the bigger obstacles for the talented eight-year-old.

Nicky Henderson's charge has an entry in the Festival Trials Handicap Chase at Cheltenham as well as the Cleeve Hurdle at the same track.

L'Ami Serge was runner-up to Sam Spinner in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last month but is more likely to go for one of the two chases.

Anthony Bromley, racing manager to owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said: "He's got three entries. We're just going to study all the races and also the ground at both tracks.

"The intention is to run him somewhere this Saturday. It's more likely he's going to run in a chase but he has got an entry in the Cleeve."

Henderson also has O O Seven in the mix for the Sky Bet, for which there were 22 five-day confirmations.

Definitly Red heads the list but could instead head to Cheltenham.

Connections of the Brian Ellison-trained nine-year-old are leaning more towards the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase on the same day but with the wintry weather causing problems at present, they are keeping their options open.

Definitly Red is no stranger to Doncaster, having won the Grimthorpe Chase there last season, and he landed the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase at Aintree on his latest start.

Ellison said: "Cheltenham is the main plan at the moment, but it could be off, it could be bottomless so we'll just have to see.

"We want to find out if he acts round Cheltenham. If he does, he'll go for the Gold Cup, if he doesn't, we'll aim for Aintree and the Grand National."

Thumb Stone Blues also has a choice of engagements but trainer Kim Bailey is leaning towards running the ultra-consistent eight-year-old in the valuable handicap. 

"Thumb Stone Blues has the option of Sky Bet Chase or the novices' chase on Friday but, looking at Friday's race, I suspect he will run on Saturday," said the Gloucestershire handler.

Alan King, who has won the last two runnings with Ziga Boy, looks to Label Des Obeaux to give him a hat-trick.

Paul Nicholls is two-handed with Frodon and Warriors Tale, as is Nigel Twiston-Davies with Flying Angel and Bigbadjohn.

Others in the list include Neil Mulholland's pair of The Young Master and Pilgrims Bay, Venetia Williams' Tenor Nivernais and Jonjo O'Neill's Mustmeetalady, who beat Vibrato Valtat over the course and distance last month.

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