ROGER CHARLTON has virtually ruled out having a runner in the Challenge Cup at Ascot on Saturday - despite having two likely sorts among the current list of entries.
Makzeem, fourth in the 2017 renewal behind subsequent Group 1 winner Accidental Agent and Lord Glitters, would have been guaranteed a run in the £180,000 handicap, while stablemate Blue Mist - who also boasts smart course-and-distance form - was no forlorn hope to sneak in at the bottom of the weights.
Charlton told me today, however: “I very much doubt either will go to Ascot. Makzeem could well go instead for a Listed race at Redcar on the same day and Blue Mist isn’t quite himself just now, although I still hope to run him again this season.”
The Balmoral Handicap on Champions’ Day a fortnight later remains a possible for the latter, as it does for last year’s Challenge Cup fifth Flaming Spear, another unlikely runner this week according to trainer Dean Ivory.
“Flaming Spear wasn’t moving right at Newbury last time and although I’m happy with him again, he probably needs another week or two before he’s properly ready,” said Ivory, whose Librisa Breeze won the 2016 Challenge.
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