Pearl Royale bids to continue her progress over fences by registering a second Listed triumph in the Thoroughbred Breeders Association Mares’ Chase at Newbury on Wednesday.
The Nigel Hawke-trained six-year-old overcame a 302-day absence when striking at this level at Carlisle at the beginning of this month, and goes to the Berkshire track in good heart.
“The softer the better for her. We are expecting a good run,” said Hawke.
“Pearl Royale came out of Carlisle in really good form and won that race comfortably.
“It was a good performance and she jumped very well, so we’re looking forward to watching her perform again.
“There are only a few runners, but it’s quite an interesting race. The one to beat would be Colin Tizzard’s horse (Drinks Interval), but our horse is improving all the time.
“The softer the better for her, two miles seven furlongs round there – she ticks all the boxes.”
Drinks Interval has to bounce back following a fall at the third-last fence when travelling well in front at Market Rasen, after winning her two previous races at Uttoxeter and Chepstow.
The Dan Skelton-trained Molly The Dolly is on a hat-trick thanks to wins at Aintree and Uttoxeter on her first two starts over fences, while Michael Scudamore’s Two Smoking Barrels was fourth to Red Infantry at Haydock last month on her first run since April.
Completing the quintet is Jessica Harrington’s Magic Of Light. The Irish raider has had plenty of experience over the bigger obstacles and was third of 25 to Tout Est Permis at Navan on her latest start.
Harrington said: “I was delighted with her first run of the season in the Troytown, which was a very competitive handicap.
“She made a bad mistake at the last fence down the back there and did well to recover from that. All she was doing was staying on at the end.
“It looks a nice race for her, two-miles-seven at Newbury, and thankfully she did get out before the wind last night. There are only five runners.
“I don’t know how good the mares in England are, but she has plenty of experience.
“She’s very versatile ground-wise. Very heavy probably isn’t her, but I don’t see it being very heavy at Newbury. They are going to get rain and I’d say it could be sloppy.”