Big Names Entered For Day 3 Of The Winter Million

Racing
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17 January 2022

The inaugural Fleur De Lys Chase looks set to be a cracker with G1 winners Bristol De Mai, Dashel Drasher, Fakir D’Oudairies and Waiting Patiently heading 13 entries for the £150,000 highlight on the third and final day of the Winter Million, Sunday, January 23.

Bristol De Mai is aiming to rediscover his best form for Nigel Twiston-Davies after being pulled up on his latest start in the G1 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park in November, a race he had won three times previously.

Anthony Bromley, racing manager to owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said: “All roads lead to Lingfield for Bristol De Mai. After it all went wrong in the Betfair Chase on good ground, we earmarked this new race for him.

“Daryl [Jacob] did not think dropping back to two miles and six furlongs on a track like Lingfield would be too much of an inconvenience and obviously the softer or heavy ground will suit him much better.

“He has a 6lb penalty to carry for last season’s Betfair Chase win, but I think he goes there with a great chance. Sparky [Bevis], who rides him at home, says he is full of zest and in as good a form as he has been for ages.

“Bristol is an awesome sight on a going day in the right conditions. He just grinds his rivals into submission and let’s hope he can wind the clock back and do it again. 

“You have your heart in your mouth because sometimes he launches himself at a fence but when it comes off, it does look spectacular. I think you tend to know early on over the first five or six fences how the day is going to go as there are days when he doesn’t seem to go as smoothly.

“Obviously, the Winter Million is not going to suit a good ground horse, but equally there are plenty of soft ground horses around. The prize money is brilliant and let’s hope it is well supported. I think it will be.”

Joseph O’Brien’s G1 Melling Chase victor Fakir D’Oudairies is one of seven Irish-trained entries across the card. The seven-year-old was last seen out contesting a red-hot renewal of the G1 John Durkan Chase at Punchestown in early December, in which he finished fourth behind Allaho. 

Dashel Drasher graduated to G1 honours when beating Master Tommytucker in last season’s Betfair Ascot Chase and Jeremy Scott’s charge returned to winning ways in a handicap hurdle at Newbury on December 29. 

Other big hitters among the entries include fellow G1 winner Waiting Patiently and Fanion D’Estruval, who impressed under top weight in a handicap at Newbury last time out.

Gordon Elliott could send over unbeaten Champion Hurdle hopeful Saint Felicien for the £100,000 Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Hurdle (2.25pm) over just short of two and a half miles. The 12 entries also include Brewin’upastorm, who fell when holding every chance in the G2 Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, and recent wide-margin Punchestown scorer Darver Star.

Darver Star’s trainer Gavin Cromwell has also entered Wexford bumper winner Fameaftertheglory in the £30,000 Winter Million Novices' Hurdle (1.20pm, 16 entries), while G1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase runner-up War Lord heads 10 contenders for the £50,000 Winter Million Novices’ Chase (1.50pm).

A star of the future could emerge in the opening in the £40,000 Winter Million Open National Hunt Flat Race (12.50pm), which will take place on the All-Weather track. The 20 entries include German challenger Estacas, who made a winning debut for Andreas Wohler at Ascot in October. 

Handicap action is provided by the racehorselotto.com Surrey National Handicap Chase (3.35pm, 23 entries) and the Winter Million Novices' Handicap Hurdle (4.08pm, 24 entries).

The middle day of the Winter Million on Saturday, January 22, sees an All-Weather Championships card headlined by the £100,000 Coral Winter Oaks Fillies’ Handicap (3.40pm, 18 entries) over 10 furlongs.

Viola won the trial for this race at Southwell in December and James Fanshawe’s filly could reoppose several rivals from that race, including runner-up Alba Rose and Virgin Snow.

The other big race on the card is the £50,000 Betway Handicap (1.20pm) over 12 furlongs, for which there are 15 entries.

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