Mohaayed on course to defend Ascot title

Skelton handicapper one of 18 still in the mix.

  • Monday 16 December
  • News
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Mohaayed will attempt to return to form by becoming the first back-to-back winner of the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot.

The Dan Skelton-trained seven-year-old is one of 18 runners still in contention for Saturday’s Grade Three handicap.

Although out of luck in three starts this season, last year’s County Hurdle hero has slipped down to the same mark from which he won this race 12 months ago.

Skelton said: “Mohaayed is back down to his last winning mark, which was in this race last year.

“It looks like it could cut up, and he will be near the top of the weights again – which is the hardest part.

“I don’t think it was a bad run at Cheltenham in the Greatwood under a big weight in such bad ground, and I hope there is another good race in him.”

Ground conditions will dictate whether Skelton, who also claimed the race back in 2013 with Willow’s Saviour, runs his other entry Sofia’s Rock.

He added: “I think there is a lot of rain about, which is not ideal for Sofia’s Rock. He just never stops running and always tries so hard. I do think there is a big day in him.

“We will just have to see what the weather brings, and I will have a chat with the owner before making a decision.”

Heading the weights for the near two-mile contest, which carries a £100,000 bonus to any horse which goes on to win the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in February, is the Jane Williams-trained Monsieur Lecoq – following his fourth in the International at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Nicky Henderson’s chances of securing a fifth victory in the race rest with Gerry Feilden runner-up French Crusader and Countister.

Recent Wincanton scorer Scaramanga and French recruit Tamaroc Du Mathan may bid to give champion trainer Paul Nicholls his first victory in the race.

The Charles Byrnes-trained Turnpike Trip, who was last sighted finishing fourth behind Envoi Allen in a Grade One at Fairyhouse at the start of the month, is the sole Irish entry.

Other notable entries include Greatwood Hurdle winner Harambe, from the yard of Alan King, and former Dee Stakes winner and recent course-and-distance scorer Not So Sleepy, who is the representative of Hughie Morrison.

Mohaayed on course to defend Ascot title

Ascot 15:35, 21 December 2019

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