With Binocular's plan A – a run at Cheltenham yesterday – washed out, the gelding's trainer, Nicky Henderson, is keen that the sport's authorities will give him the option of a plan B for the Champion Hurdle favourite by rescheduling the Boylesports International Hurdle. An obvious new slot for the Grade Two contest would be as part of Saturday's card at Ascot.
"Some will say we could wait for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton," he said, "but Binocular will not be running there as neither the track nor the timing would suit. Most of us who had runners in the Cheltenham race want it saved; it had the potential to be the best hurdle of the season apart from the Champion itself, and it's important for the professionals and public alike that it isn't lost."
Yesterday's feature handicap chase, the Boylesports Gold Cup, will not be saved, leaving Imperial Commander, one of the game's rising stars, with the King George VI Chase as his next target. "We'll enter him," said the progressive seven-year-old's trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, "and if we retain our nerve we'll go for it. Otherwise we'll go back to Cheltenham on New Year's Day."
The loss of yesterday's Cheltenham meeting was Dominic Elsworth's gain, at the expense of his weighing room colleague Mark Bradburne. Elsworth rerouted himself to Doncaster, reclaimed two of his regular mounts, Laskari and Victorias Groom, and scored on both. Laskari, trained by Paul Webber, is bound for the three-mile Racing Post Chase at Kempton in February after taking the two-mile, three furlong handicap in stamina-sapping conditions. There was some consolation for Bradburne when his sole remaining mount of the day, Pop, also won.
The hard-fought success of Charlie Crab in the Doncaster finale cost two punters £1.6m, the record bonus pot for the Scoop 6 bet. Company directors Lawrence Ireland and Ray Stubbs had opted for Duke Of Touraine, beaten just half a length after leading over the last.
Keiren Fallon's rehabilitation has taken another step forward. He has been granted an exercise rider's licence in California. The former champion is serving an 18-month suspension for drug offences, which ends in September next year.Reuse content