Top chasers return to the track

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  • Best Mate and Bindaree (pictured), two of last winter’s heroes, take center stage this weekend.

    Best Mate, winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, steps out at Huntingdon on the long road back to Cheltenham, while Bindaree returns to Aintree, the scene of his greatest triumph in the Grand National last April.

    Best Mate kicks off in the Peterborough Chase, in which he encounters the crack French chaser Douze Douze.

    Trainer Henrietta Knight, who has won the last four Peterborough Chases with Edredon Bleu, reports Best Mate in “good form” and ready to do himself justice. After Huntingdon he will then head to Kempton for the King George V1 Chase on Boxing Day before contesting the Cheltenham Gold Cup again.

    Douze Douze is trained on the south-west coast of France by Guillaume Macaire, who says he is bringing his tall six-year-old on a “voyage of discovery” to introduce him to British fences.

    Bindaree ran ina Wetherby hurdle first time out and may not be ready to do himself justice in Sunday’s Tote Becher Chase. The tip is the Ian Balding-trained Moor Lane, who is fancied to show considerable improvement wearing a visor for the first time.

    At Ascot Nicky Henderson’s Fondmort may be the answer to the First National Gold Cup for which there is a disappointing turnout of six.

    Henderson, whose Lambourn string is galloping into top gear, may also be on the mark with Nas Na Riogh, who struck form at Sandown earlier in the month.

    Middleham trainer Ferdy Murphy and his new stable jockey Davy Russell can hit it off with Historg in the coral.co.uk Handicap Chase. Historg ran well enough atKelso first time out to suggest there’s a decent race in him.

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