Views from connections ahead of the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
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Sire De Grugy heads to Ascot in top form as Gary Moore's stable star bids to add the Sodexo Clarence House Chase to his impressive list of victories this season.
The eight-year-old gave West Sussex trainer Moore a first Grade One triumph in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in early December and then took full advantage of Sprinter Sacre being pulled up to capture the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.
Moore said: "It's been so far, so good with him.
"He had a few easy days after Kempton then we just stepped him up again. He's come out of it very well. I couldn't be more pleased with him.
"I've said all my life that he wants soft ground so I can't use that as an excuse. He won the Dovecote over hurdles in heavy and it was pretty soft at Chepstow earlier this season.
"There are one or two in there, Somersby always runs his best races there and ran Master Minded to a short head. I think we should probably worry about the big black things (fences) in his way more, though.
"It's a track he's never been to before, but I don't think it should worry him."
Oiseau De Nuit stuck on well to claim second place behind Sire De Grugy at Kempton and trainer Colin Tizzard believes his veteran will not be far away again.
"We were only four lengths behind Sire De Grugy last time and I don't see any reason why the distance should be much different either way. Looking at it like that we've got a chance," said Tizzard.
"He's a 12-year-old and is in the form of his life so he deserves to run in these types of races."
Irish trainer Shark Hanlon is happy with Hidden Cyclone as the nine-year-old looks to be rewarded for his consistency.
Hidden Cyclone only found Benefficient three-quarters of a length too good in the Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas after finishing third to Johns Spirit in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
"He did a lovely piece of work on Tuesday and went very well, I'm very happy with him as he's in great form. He worked about a mile and a half under Andrew McNamara with a good horse called Western Leader," said the County Carlow trainer.
"I'd say that he definitely came out of Leopardstown better than the Paddy Power Gold Cup. Cheltenham over two miles and five probably took more out of him and it was hard for him between that and the travelling to England."
Fellow Irish trainer Henry de Bromhead relies on Days Hotel after withdrawing Special Tiara at the final declaration stage.
De Bromhead feels Days Hotel, placed behind Flemenstar and Twinlight in his two starts this winter, will not be inconvenienced by the rain that has fallen at the Berkshire track
"Days Hotel has been targeted at this race and the softer the ground the better his chance," said the County Waterford handler.
"He was a bit disappointing in Cork last time, but he ran a nice race on his first run of the season. We'll see how he goes on Saturday."
Somersby would be a poignant winner as this race comes just a day after the funeral of former champion jump jockey Terry Biddlecombe, husband of the horse's former trainer Henrietta Knight.
Now handled by Mick Channon, Somersby has been a regular in this race for the last three years.
Just touched off by Master Minded in 2011, he defeated subsequent Queen Mother Champion Chase scorer Finian's Rainbow in 2012 and was third behind Sprinter Sacre when the race was switched to Cheltenham due to the weather last year.
The 10-year-old made a winning start to the campaign in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter in early November and was a clear second to Sire De Grugy in the Tingle Creek.
"I'm very much looking forward to it. Obviously, Sire De Grugy is the one to beat," said his jockey Dominic Elsworth.
"Somersby is a course and distance winner, he won this race two years ago, so all the boxes are ticked.
"He was only four lengths behind Sire De Grugy at Sandown and this is a furlong further. I'm hopeful of a big run."
With just a small field chasing Grade One honours, Evan Williams has decided to let Lancetto take his chance.
Lancetto is the lowest-rated horse in the line-up, but he won over the course and distance four weeks ago and will not mind the heavy ground.
"We're only running there to see if we can get any prize money out of the job," said Williams.
"Horses for courses and the ground will be very deep there. Funny results can happen. You might see a few under perform and we could find ourselves nicking a bit of prize money."