Racing: Reveley aims Brother at Ascot

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The Independent Online
THE TRAINER Mary Reveley is aiming Brother Of Iris, her progressive chaser and Cheltenham Gold Cup outsider, at the Tote Silver Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot on Saturday.

The three miles and 110 yards contest - until this year known as either the Betterware Cup or, better still, as the SGB by those of us who have been following the game since the late Harold Wilson was Prime Minister - lacks the prestige of the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, but has attracted some top-class chasers over the years. Midnight Court won the SGB en route to victory in the 1978 Cheltenham Gold Cup, while Burrough Hill Lad, the 1984 Gold Cup winner, was subsequently beaten in the SGB under a welter burden.

Brother Of Iris has been impressive when winning at Ayr and Wetherby this season and is as low as 20-1 with the more parsimonious bookmakers for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, although his owners have already backed him at 100-1.

Mrs Reveley said yesterday: "I am happy with him and I would like to run him in the Silver Cup at Ascot, but I don't want soft ground. It will be interesting to see what the handicapper does with him."

Tony Dobbin deputised for Peter Niven at Wetherby and Niven is sidelined after injuring his neck in a fall at Sedgefield last Tuesday. Mrs Reveley said: "I don't know who will ride Brother Of Iris at Ascot yet."

There are 20 entries for the pounds 45,000 contest, including Spendid, runner- up to Ever Blessed in the Hennessy and now trained by Alan King following the retirement of David Nicholson, his stablemate Mulligan, the Tim Easterby- trained Simply Dashing, Strong Promise and the Francois Doumen-trained Djeddah and Royaltino.

Simply Dashing's participation hinges on the going. The eight-year-old missed an engagement in the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock on Saturday due to heavy ground. Easterby said yesterday: "It was a pity he missed the race, but it was terrible ground."

Simply Dashing, who has suffered from burst blood vessels in the past and requires good going, is 12-1 with William Hill for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on 27 December, and Easterby said: "We haven't decided where to run him next, but he'll be entered at Wetherby as well as Kempton." The going at Ascot is described as good to soft.

Deano's Beeno heads seven entries for Ascot's Long Walk Hurdle over three miles one furlong and 110 yards. Martin Pipe's charge, who delivered a spectacular 19-length victory in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month, was beaten half a length into second by Princeful in the Long Walk last season.

Anzum, winner of the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, but a distant third to Deano's Beeno at Newbury, is also an intended runner. Alan King, his trainer, said: "It will obviously be difficult to beat Deano's Beeno but our fellow has come on well and the extra distance will help."

Le Coudray, beaten by Limestone Lad, Istabraq's bane, at Navan on Saturday, has been taken out of the race, but there will be an Irish interest in the shape of the chaser Boss Doyle.

Mouse Morris's charge was the easy winner of a handicap hurdle at Navan on his reappearance in November. Morris said yesterday: "He's very well. He's come on a good bit for the run. Adrian Maguire rides."

Limestone Lad is the top weight for the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle at Leopardstown on 8 January. James Bowe's charge is set to carry 12st, with the Aidan O'Brien-trained Theatreworld next on 11st 2lb.

Ladbrokes believe Limestone Lad is unlikely to run, which would mean the weights would rise by 10lb, but connections said yesterday that no decision has been made on his participation. The trainer's son, Michael, said: "I'd have to see the weights and entries, but we'll give it consideration. I don't think we have to make our mind up until the withdrawal stage on 3 January. It certainly hasn't been ruled out. He's in terrific form - he's thriving. I rode him out this morning and he was jumping out of his skin."

Ladbrokes make the Christy Roche-trained Afarad (9st), a winner at Navan last month, their 8-1 favourite. The Nicky Henderson-trained Geos (9st 1lb), third to Copeland in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Sandown last time, is 12-1 along with She's Our Mare (9st 7lb). Last season's winner, Archive Footage (9st 9lb), and Native Dara (8st 7lb) are 14-1. Along with Geos, other British-trained horses among the 53 entries include Master Beveled (10st 4lb), Sharpical (9st 8lb), Top Cees (9st), Temper Lad (8st 2lb), What A Fuss (7st 2lb), Get The Point (7st) and Shoofk (7st).

LONG WALK HURDLE Cashmans: 4-5 Deano's Beeno, 7-2 Anzum, 9-2 Splendid Thyne, 13-2 Boss Doyle, 12-1 Pharanear, 16-1 Count Campioni, 66-1 Ivors Flutter.

THE LADBROKE HANDICAP HURDLE Ladbrokes: 8-1 Afarad, 10-1 (with a run) Limestone Lad, 12-1 Geos, She's Our Mare, 14-1 Archive Footage, Native Dara, 16-1 Golden Rule, Its Time For A Win, Knife Edge, Owen Bart, Theatreworld, The Gatherer, Moving On Up, 20-1 others.

n There will be an inspection at Musselburgh at 7.30am today. A cold night is forecast with snow expected later in the day.