Elgin on course for Ascot

Wayne Hutchinson riding Elgin (left)

Elgin will try to maintain his fine form this season by defying top-weight in the Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.

The five-year-old has made giant strides already this campaign, winning over the course and distance in early November and then lifting the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham two weeks later.

As a result, Alan King's charge has gone up 11lb in the ratings and is at the head of the handicap for this weekend's valuable contest.

"The plan is to run. He's in good form," said Dan Downie, racing manager for owners Elite Racing.

"He's come out of his last race well and we're happy with him."

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Fergall and Chesterfield were third and eighth in this race 12 months ago and trainer Seamus Mullins reports the pair to be on target to return to Berkshire.

"Both are likely to run and we're going to claim off both of them," said the Salisbury handler.

"Chesterfield is doing everything right at home. Obviously the handicapper has had his say, but I would hope he'd run a big race.

"We try to set Fergall up for this race every year if we can."

Hunters Call is under orders to have his first start for Olly Murphy since leaving John Neilan's stable in County Galway.

"Hunters Call, all being well will run in the old Ladbroke Hurdle on Saturday at Ascot," the Stratford handler told www.ollymurphyracing.com.

"Yes, it's an awfully competitive handicap, but his home work has been good and I'm hopeful more than confident he will run well.

"He will have a nice weight and it looks like he will get in towards the bottom end of the handicap."

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