Capitaine set for Sky Bet contest

Paul Nicholls' Capitaine is all set to take in the Grade Two Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle at Ascot on Friday.

Capitaine: Looks set for Ascot on Friday

The two-mile £32,000 race is the second contest in Sky Bet's "Road to Cheltenham" series, which culminates with the £120,000 Grade One Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival, on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.

Yanworth was successful at Ascot last year and has gone on to prove himself a high-class performer, most recently landing another Grade Two victory at Ascot last month.

The 12 entries for Friday's contest include a quartet from Nicky Henderson – recent impressive Newbury scorer Jenkins (13/8 favourite with Sky Bet), Thomas Campbell (7/1), three from three over hurdles this season, Lough Derg Spirit (11/4), who made a winning debut for the stable at Kempton Park last month and Khezerabad (16/1), third in a Listed contest Park at Haydock Park on November 18.

Runner-up in the same contest at Haydock Park was Capitaine (Paul Nicholls, 6/1). The four-year-old had previously been successful by 20 lengths at Wincanton on November 5 and a trip to Ascot is firmly on his agenda.

Harry Derham, assistant to Paul Nicholls, said today: "We are aiming Capitaine at the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle.

"We have been very happy with him since his run at Haydock and providing everything goes to plan, we will be going to Ascot on Friday with him."

Last year's winning trainer Alan King could be represented by Keep In Line (3/1), who was a staying-on fourth in the opening race of the series, the Grade Two Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham on November 13.

Other interesting contenders include Captain Forez (Dan Skelton, 11/2), who was third behind Jenkins at Newbury and Blue Surf (Amanda Perrett, 14/1), a very useful handicapper on the Flat who won at Plumpton last time out.

Michael Shinners, Racing PR Manager at Sky Bet, said: "Friday's race at Ascot is the second in our Road To Cheltenham series and has thrown up two top-class winners in the last two seasons with L'Ami Serge and Yanworth.

"The entries for the 2016 renewal look very strong with a number of impressive winners from earlier in the season engaged. An impressive performance on Friday could well have a significant impact on the ante-post market for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March."

Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle, Sky Bet odds: 13/8 Jenkins; 11/4 Lough Derg Spirit; 3/1 Keep In Line; 11/2 Captain Forez; 6/1 Capitaine; 7/1 Thomas Campbell; 14/1 Blue Surf; 16/1 Apasionado, Ballyhill, Khezerabad, London Prize; 33/1 What About Carlo

Each Way: 1/5 for first 3 places

The full list of races in the Sky Bet's "Road To Cheltenham" for the 2016/17 season are:

Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle (Grade Two) – Cheltenham, Sunday, November 14, 2016 – Won by Moon Racer (David Pipe/Tom Scudamore)

Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle (Grade Two) – Ascot, Friday, December 16, 2016

Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle (Grade Two) – Punchestown (Ireland), Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle (Grade Two) – Haydock Park, Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sky Bet Supreme Scottish Trial Novices' Hurdle – Musselburgh, Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle (Grade Two) – Kempton Park, Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade One) – Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 14, 2017

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