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This weekend’s racing

Jonjo O’Neill reintroduces his high class chaser Legal Right in Saturday’s Tote Silver Cup at Ascot where an impressive victory could earn the ‘old crock’ his ticket to Kempton on Boxing Day for the King V1 Chase.

Legal Right’s runaway 22-length victory in the Tripleprint Cup at Cheltenham a year ago put him right up among the best jumpers in the land. But he has not run since due to a mystifying condition of recurring lameness.

Understandably, Cumbria-based O’Neill says he wants to getthe Tote Silver Cup over before he considers a quick return trip south on Boxing Day. “I don’t know if he’ll be sound tomorrow, never mind in a week,” insists the trainer.

Legal Right is brilliant but frustrating. “A bit like me,” jokes O’Neill, who experienced just about every injury in the book during his record-breaking riding days. “If you could see us hobbling round the yard; we’re a couple of old crocks together!”

Legal Right carries topweight in the Silver Cup and has no easy task first time out conceding weight to Hennessy Gold Cup runner-up Gingembre and the lightweights Smarty and Arlequin de Sou.

French trainer Francois Doumen, in Hong Kong to saddle Jim and Tonic for Sunday’s Hong Kong Cup, flexes his muscles here withhis hurdlers Ben Ewar (1.30), Baracouda (2.35) and Bedawin (3.35) before returning with his highly rated chaser First Gold for the King George on Boxing Day.

Charles Egerton’s Teaatral is in line for top long distance hurdling honours this winter and may prove too determined for Baracouda, Deano’s Beeno and Serenus in the Long Walk Hurdle.

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