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Exclusive: Lucinda Russell confirms King George for Ahoy Senor

The plan initially for Ahoy Senor was the King George, then we were eyeing up a race at Wetherby instead, but we’re changing our mind again and he will run at Kempton on Boxing Day. 

We’ve been talking to everyone about it, we’ve spoken to Derek Fox, we’ve spoken to the owners, to Scu and I think now the plan is to go to Kempton. The feeling is there’s probably a smaller field but the most important thing is that I think he’s a Grade 1 horse and he belongs in that company. Yes, we might get beaten, but if he runs a good race and makes the first four then the dream’s still alive to go to Cheltenham

Speaking to Derek, he said the first time he ran this season he was like a bull in a china shop, the next time he said if it had been his first run, he’d have been delighted. He came on so much between the second and first runs and we feel he’s come on again since. 

You look at the horses in the race and we’ve beaten them, albeit in the spring on good ground.

He’s definitely a horse that keeps improving the more he races and I think that’s why he does well in the spring and probably why he seems to run so well at Aintree. So depending on how Christmas goes, we’ll consider the Cotswolds Chase, and then potentially the Gold Cup. 

We’re going to school him on Thursday with cheek pieces, and if that goes well, we’ll try them again on Monday. 

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We’re now targeting the Grand National for Corach Rambler after the Gold Cup at Newbury, but we’re not planning on him following the One For Arthur route. With Arthur, we had to get him up in the handicaps to get him in the race which is why we went to Warwick. 

We do want to run Corach again, likely in the Fleur De Lys at Lingfield which has fantastic prize money, though it’s only 2m6f.

After that, he’ll go to Kelso for the Premier Chase at the start of March, which will mean he won’t go to Cheltenham for the Ultima, but the Grand National’s been in the back of our minds all the time. He’s a fabulous horse and he’s got the right profile for it if he takes to the fences. Normally I like having a look at the fences at the Becher Chase for example, but for Corach he’ll have to see if he likes them on the day. 

We have a couple of runners at Newcastle on Boxing Day. Jem In Em is one; he’s a really tough and hardy horse and his form stands up. 

He won at Perth in September and was beaten by 3/4L at Kelso at the start of the month. He’ll run at Newcastle and with the reduced training with the weather that we’ve had, he’s been very fresh over the last few weeks.

Rowdy Rustler is at Newcastle over 2m4f. Trainers, especially northern trainers, often complain about handicap marks, but we’ve run a few novice hurdlers and they have been allocated marks around 110 whereas it used to be that they were always allocated 120, so I think the handicapper is being slightly kinder to novice hurdlers, so they could be better off in a handicap than they are carrying a penalty and I think that applied across the board, not just to our horses. 

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