L'Homme Presse set for Gold Cup prep in Ascot Chase

Over to you. A day after Shishkin staked his claim for the Boodles Gold Cup, L'Homme Presse was handed the chance to show Britain has two serious contenders for Galopin Des Champs' crown.

The chaser vying for third favouritism at Cheltenham with Saturday's Denman Chase winner and Gerri Colombe was declared an intended runner in the Betfair Ascot Chase next weekend.

It will be a return to Grade 1 company for the nine-year-old, who made an impressive return from 13 months out of action when landing the 2m6f Fleur De Lys Chase at Lingfield three weeks ago.

This Saturday's £175,000 race is not an early closing event but when asked on Sunday whether L'Homme Presse would be entered, trainer Venetia Williams said: "That's the plan. He was very good at Lingfield and I've been very happy with him since."

L'Homme Presse proved himself in Grade 1 company in 2021-22 when he landed the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown and Brown Advisory Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.

He defied top weight of 12st when winning the Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle on his reappearance last season, only to unseat Charlie Deutsch at the final fence in the King George VI Chase at Kempton and miss the rest of the campaign.

The Ascot Chase, which Williams took with Teeton Mill 25 years ago, is over a furlong shorter than the Fleur De Lys.

L'Homme Presse will be racing over his shortest trip since the Scilly Isles but his trainer is happy to use the contest on the way to a crack at the 3m2½f Gold Cup, for which he is a best-priced 10-1.

Williams said: "It's a race that we took in with Teeton Mill a number of years ago after he'd been running over three miles. It's something to look forward to."

Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup (3.30 Cheltenham, March 15)

bet365: 4-6 Galopin Des Champs, 9-2 Fastorslow, 9 Gerri Colombe, L'Homme Presse, Shishkin, 14 bar