Nicky Henderson quartet up for Ladbroke at Ascot
Published 21/12/2012 | 10:45
Nicky Henderson is aiming to improve upon his already excellent record in The Ladbroke at Ascot tomorrow when he will saddle four runners.
The Seven Barrows maestro has landed the huge pot in 2002 with Chauvinist, 2007 with Jack The Giant and 12 months later with Sentry Duty.
Involved in a battle to become champion trainer with Paul Nicholls, Henderson is chasing the massive amount of prize money on offer with Cash And Go, Lyvius, top-weight Petit Robin and First In The Queue.
Stable jockey Barry Geraghty has chosen to ride Cash And Go, a Grade One winner in Ireland for Edward O'Grady.
Useful 5lb conditional Jerry McGrath is on Gerry Feilden winner Lyvius, amateur Nico De Boinville will take 7lb off Petit Robin, who has reverted to hurdles with two wins, and Andrew Tinkler rides First In The Queue.
With the ground set to be as testing as it gets at Ascot, their ability to handle the conditions will be crucial.
"Petit Robin has won on soft ground, Cash and Go has form in soft ground and Lyvius won the Gerry Feilden in soft ground," said Henderson.
"There is nowhere else for them to go, there is huge prize money on offer so we have to let them take their chance.
"Thankfully I have don't have to pick between them. Cash And Go and Lyvius have shown high-class form over hurdles, so we'll see what happens."
If there is one horse in the race with pretensions of being better than a handicapper it could be the Alan King-trained Balder Succes.
The four-year-old was fancied in the Triumph Hurdle and at the Punchestown Festival in the spring, but failed to complete either race.
This season he as run respectably behind Champion Hurdle hope Zarkandar at Wincanton and won well at Haydock.
"On Saturday, we are looking for a big run from Balder Succes in The Ladbroke," King told www.alankingracing.co.uk.
"You need an improving young hurdler to win this competitive race and we got lucky with Raya Star last year but, whereas he went into the race rated 134, Balder Succes is off a mark of 147, so there is no doubt that he has the class.
"Balder Succes' third to Zarkandar in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton last month looks pretty good form after last week's International Hurdle at Cheltenham.
"Our fellow has since won in the soft at Haydock, and I would not swap him for anything."
His jockey Robert Thornton told At The Races: "He's in cracking form.
"His run behind Zarkandar and Prospect Wells at Wincanton looks very good now and he did what we thought he would at Haydock.
"He's been schooling well, he's been working well and he'll improve from Haydock. He's got weight to carry but he likes Ascot and the ground shouldn't be a problem.
"He's got the weight because he deserves it, he's one of the better horses in the race, travels very well so this sort of race should suit."