Honeyball mulling Cheltenham return for Regal Encore

Anthony Honeyball: could run Regal Encore in the BetVictor Gold Cup

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Regal Encore could bid for BetVictor Gold Cup
By Keith Melrose 3:21PM 3 NOV 2016

TRAINER Anthony Honeyball is keeping a close eye on the weather as he ponders a potential tilt at next Saturday's BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham for stable star Regal Encore.

The JP McManus-owned gelding had a busy first season over fences last year, putting up easily his best effort when second in a handicap chase at Punchestown in April.

He has not run since but is close to a return to action according to his trainer, who has big-race aspirations for the eight-year-old.

"The BetVictor Gold Cup is one of the races we are looking at for Regal Encore," confirmed Honeyball. "We also have an eye on the Hennessy and a lot will depend on the ground as we are waiting for some rain."

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The former Champion Bumper runner-up is now rated 147 over fences, meaning he would carry 10st 13lb in the BetVictor as it currently stands and it seems the most likely starting point at this stage.

"He has a few entries this weekend, but I would say he is unlikely to take those up given the ground and weather forecast," explained Honeyball. "The horse is in good form and ready to run. We were hoping to have a prep run but haven't been able to because of the weather."

A future stayer?

Honeyball added: "It was a shame he just got touched off at Punchestown. It would have been a nice race to win and he went up 8lb for that, which I thought was a bit excessive."

That race was over 3m1f and the trainer suggested Regal Encore might be more of a stayer in the long run.

"It looks like he stays pretty well and I think his best two runs have been at around three miles," he said. "He beat some nice horses over two miles at Plumpton last season but I don't think they ran their races that day."

Regal Encore is currently a best-priced 25-1 for the BetVictor and 40s for the Hennessy a fortnight later.

    Tags: Regal Encore

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