Saturday, 4 November 2017

Ascot: Smart hurdler Jenkins 'improving' ahead of handicap debut

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Champion trainer Nicky Henderson is relishing the season ahead with Jenkins, who makes his return in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle (3:00).

The five-year-old as always been regarded as one of the leading prospects in the Seven Barrows set-up but missed out on a chance to go to the Cheltenahm Festival.

He won easily on his last start at Ffos Las in April, and takes on his first big field handicap this afternoon.

"I’ve always thought the world of Jenkins and I have to say I’ve been very pleased with him up until now,"

"I’m hoping to see a different animal to last season. He’s won two of his three starts but that was still not the same Jenkins that I thought I was training the year before, so we will see what happens here.

"He’s definitely coming back to himself and his jumping is just so much slicker but the ground is a major issue, it will have to rain significantly for him to be seen at his best.

"We need to get these horses out as there’s nowhere else to go and I am keen to run him, but he will prefer more cut."

Henderson, who saddled two winners at Uttoxeter yesterday, is also represented by Verdana Blue. The five-year-old was last seen finishing third in a listed contest at Cheltenham.

Dolos, Air Force Blue and Elgin are also in with chances.

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Emerging Force (purple) is being campaigned towards the Grand National

Harry Whittington is expecting Emerging Force to continue his improvement as he takes on  eighteen runners in the Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase (3:35).

The seven-year-old won twice at this point in the season last year, before enjoying a creditable Cheltenham fourth and Aintree fifth.

"He is a genuine, straightforward horse who jumps very well," Whittingdon told his website.

"He should continue to improve with time and a step up in trip. If all went to plan he could line up in the 2018 Grand National."

Paul Nicholls' Braqueur D'Or has been rapidly improving this season, and comes here following an impressive seven length win at Ludlow last time out.

"He has made relentless progress since getting off the mark with a bloodless success at Stratford and is now up 10lbs to a new career high mark of 139 after his runaway victory at Ludlow last month," said Nicholls to his Betfair blog.

"This is harder as you'd expect in a £100,000 race but he looked a better horse going right handed at Ludlow and there are a lot of exposed chasers in the field while he has shown he is on the up over the past few months."

Carole's Destrier, Ultragold and Go Conquer also race.

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