RACING: Flagship threatened with overload in two-mile test

The much-trumpeted bravery of Viking Flagship will get its most searing test in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot on Saturday. Britain's leading two-mile chaser, the winner of five of his last six starts, has been set the sort of task devised by Hercules' workmaster in giving wheelbarrow-loads of weight to the progressive Current Express and Martha's Son.

David Nicholson's gelding, the winner of last year's running of this race when it was re-routed to Warwick, has 18lb more to carry this time around, mainly because of his win in last year's Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Festival. This elevation makes him vulnerable to the green-shoot chasers.

Current Express is difficult to evaluate. There are considerably more promising bulletins than runs in the gelding's record book (he has appeared just four times since the 1991-92 season), but his trainer, Nick Henderson, reports the gelding on the vergeof fulfilling his promise.

"Current Express is in good form," the Lambourn trainer said yesterday. "He schooled this morning and jumped well. He has had his problems, but, hopefully, they are behind him now.

"It was a good performance at Cheltenham and the second [Around The Horn] franked the form on Saturday. We have always thought the world of this horse and, hopefully, he is getting somewhere near that now."

Martha's Son, who is unbeaten in seven races over fences, is trained by the arch pessimist Tim Forster. If it rains heavily between now and the weekend, Forster will pull out his runner; if it does not he will expect his garden to wither. "He will run atAscot provided the ground is not soft," the trainer said yesterday. "The horse is fine and has done everything that has been asked of him so far over fences.

"This is a different class of race and I have no idea whether he will be good enough, but we will find out whether he is better than he has shown so far."

Viking Flagship himself showed the best form of his life on the gallops at Jackdaws Castle last week, while there have been similarly encouraging reports about Oliver Sherwood's Coulton.

This gelding had the "I told you so's" emerging from the cupboard after a dire error at Cheltenham last time out, but has since been on another course with the jumping expert who appears to provide his charges with a mental prop, Yogi Breisner.

Jimmy Fitzgerald, who has declared both Uncle Ernie and Sybillin in an effort to reclaim the race he won in 1990 with Meikleour, is one of several trainers shooting for the £20,000 bonus on offer for winning the feature race and the opening Victor Chandler Novices' Hurdle. Henderson and Nicholson also have entries in an effort to gather a Saturday prize that will not come from a dice drum.

nThe Ascot executive has announced that annual membership, for which there is no longer a waiting list, is available at £120 or £42 for 16 to 25-year-olds.

VICTOR CHANDLER HANDICAP CHASE (Ascot, Saturday): Ladbrokes: 2-1 Viking Flagship, 5-2 Martha's Son, 5-1 Coulton, 6-1 Current Express, 10-1 Deep Sensation, 14-1 Egypt Mill Prince & Storm Alert, 16-1 Uncle Ernie, 20-1 Sybillin; Victor Chandler: 7-4 Viking Flagship, 3-1 Martha's Son, 6-1 Coulton, 7-1 Current Express, 8-1 Deep Sensation, 9-1 Storm Alert, 10-1 Egypt Mill Prince, 16-1 Uncle Ernie, 25-1 Sybillin.

News
i100
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Property

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: KENT MARKET TOWN - An exciting new role has ar...

Financial Accountants, Cardiff, £250 p/day

£180 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountants - Key Banking...

Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices