King George remains the plan for La Bague Au Roi

La Bague Au Roi in full flight at Leopardstown
La Bague Au Roi in full flight at Leopardstown

La Bague Au Roi remains on course for the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase despite her disappointing return at Wetherby.

The top-class mare won her first four starts over fences last season - including Grade One triumphs at Kempton and Leopardstown - before rounding off her campaign when second to Kalashnikov at Aintree.

The eight-year-old was the marginal favourite for the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase in West Yorkshire on Saturday, but was never travelling with her usual fluency in the testing conditions and was eventually pulled up by champion jockey Richard Johnson four fences from the finish.

Trainer Warren Greatrex reports his stable star to be none the worse for the experience - and he is still keen on a return to Kempton for the King George on Boxing Day.

"Nothing has come to light, and she's come out of the race as bright as a button," said the Lambourn trainer.

"I think we'll just have to put a line through it and move on."

Greatrex is putting the poor run down to deteriorating conditions on a very wet afternoon.

He added: "By the time the Charlie Hall came around, the ground was horrific.

"She has won in that sort of ground before -but that was against inferior opposition, whereas on Saturday she was running in a Grade Two against seasoned campaigners.

"I think her class got her as far as she did, and Dicky (Johnson) pulled her up pretty quickly when it wasn't happening.

"It was probably trainer error, running her in that ground, but it's easy with hindsight."

Greatrex is not ruling out the possibility of La Bague Au Roi running again before the King George, but is in no rush to decide either way at this stage.

"She'll be entered for the King George, and we'll see how we go," he said.

"There are a couple of races we could run in before then, but she might be better going there fresh.

"It's not ideal going into a race like that off the back of pulling up, but she hasn't fluked what she's done previously - and the form is in the book.

"If we did decide to run her before Christmas it would be to give myself confidence, more than her. I think we just have to look forward and be positive, rather than looking back."


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