Al Ferof heads field of eight for Victor Chandler Chase

Al Ferof heads the list of eight declared runners for the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot on Saturday.

Paul Nicholls throws his high class novice in against the big boys following easy victories over fences this season at Cheltenham and Sandown.

Ante-post favourite is Nicky Henderson’s Finian’s Rainbow, who returned to action with a win at Kempton over Christmas.

Wishfull Thinking had been campaigned over further but was second to Finian’s Rainbow at Kempton. His Festival target is likely to be decided after this outing.

Somersby, last seen running a fine race over three miles in the King George, aims to go one better than last year when just beaten by Master Minded.

Forpadydeplasterer is the sole Irish challenger and has returned from a lengthy absence this season showing that he still has plenty of ability.

The Nick Williams-trained Gauvain, Colin Tizzard’s Oiseau De Nuit and I’m So Lucky, trained by David Pipe, complete the octet.

Ruby Walsh rides Al Ferof, who he feels is worth trying out in this company.

He told Racing UK: “It looks a great race. I suppose the thinking is you don’t have Big Zeb and Sizing Europe, who look the main players in the Champion Chase.

“Obviously Finian’s Rainbow was good at Kempton when he beat Wishfull Thinking.

“Somersby has been knocking on the door consistently all winter and last year, Forpadydeplasterer runs, and Oiseau De Nuit won the Grand Annual last year.

“You can take those horses on for £105,000 or take on Sprinter Sacre and Peddlers Cross for £20,000 – it’s worth a go.

“He’ll get good experience for whatever target he has at Cheltenham.”

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