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RACING: Somersby set for Ascot mission
Somersby is on course for the Betfair Ascot Chase next month after making a promising comeback at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The nine-year-old, who has moved to Mick Channon’s West Ilsley yard this season following former handler Henrietta Knight’s retirement last summer, finished a creditable third to Sprinter Sacre in the Victor Chandler Chase.
Having his first start since last April in the Grade 1 contest, which was switched from Ascot’s abandoned meeting the previous weekend, he was unable to land a blow on racing’s new superstar.
And, tiring on the run-in, Dominic Elsworth’s mount had to settle for minor honours after being passed by Mad Moose.
Somersby had won the Grade 1 contest when it was run at Ascot last year, but his reappearance this term had been delayed due to a splint problem, which has left him with a bony growth on the inside of his near-fore.
Channon said: “We had a go at the winner and it has probably cost us a place.
“We will probably go to Ascot now. There is a race for him (the Betfair Ascot Chase), which we will see if we can get him to win.
“It is pleasing that he has come back.”
West Lockinge-based Knight, who is still heavily involved with her former charges, is looking forward to Somersby returning to Ascot on February 16.
“We don’t think Cheltenham is his ideal course,” she said. “It never has been. He is better going right-handed.”