Racing: Dry day suitable for Seven Barrows

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Prospects for Newbury's card on Saturday improved yesterday, which was good news for Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson. The master of Seven Barrows has Marlborough and Bacchanal in the £60,000 Aon Chase, while he could well have four runners in the £110,000 Tote Gold Trophy.

"The difficulty with Marlborough is that we could wait for the Racing Post Chase [at Kempton on 23 February] or the Wincanton race [Jim Ford Chase on 21 February] but who's to say what the ground is going to be like then. I'd prefer not to run him in heavy ground.

"Bacchanal will run at Newbury. In the past he has been very happy on soft ground," the trainer said. Henderson's entries in the Tote Gold Trophy are Tysou, Regal Exit, Got One Too, and Lady Boston.

"The ground is the thing. Got One Too has won in this ground and I think Regal Exit is probably the least suited to it. Lady Boston is a nice filly from France and she'll go on the soft. I'd be a little bit nervous about the ground for Tysou. It will be up to Mick [Fitzgerald] when we see on Friday what is exactly at the top of the handicap and we decide whose riding what," Henderson added.

Copeland, a Martin Pipe entry, was backed from 9-2 into 7-2 joint-favourite, with Marble Arch, with the Tote yesterday.

Richard Osgood, Newbury's clerk of the course, said yesterday: "We've had a dry day today. The ground we'll still call as heavy but obviously it is drying on top a bit with this wind. At the moment the prospects look very good."