Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle | Grade 2 | 4yo+| 1m7½f | RUK
Colin Tizzard asks the most serious question yet of Slate House as he pitches the up-and-coming novice into his second Grade 2 contest with a penalty to concede.
The trainer said "we'd like to think he could be good" after he gained his second win over hurdles in a Cheltenham race previously captured by the likes of Altior, Cue Card and Dodging Bullets.
Yanworth and L'Ami Serge have been past winners of the race Slate House lines up in on Friday, in which he will underline his credentials as a serious candidate for one of the festival novice hurdle titles, if he can successfully give 5lb to his five opponents.
Slate House, from the family of Big Buck's, earned the penalty by beating Summerville Boy by three quarters of a length at Cheltenham in a race restricted to five hurdles, with none jumped in the straight, due to low sun.
"They say weight stops everything but he's a lovely, big horse and the penalty isn't an issue until we get beat," said Tizzard. "We knew the conditions of the race when we entered, so we're not going to whinge about the penalty. He looks superb and he's been very good so far, so hopefully he'll run a great race."
Tizzard will have an idea of the strength of the main opponent Claimantakinforgan who beat his own Lostintranslation at Newbury in early November. Lostintranslation won next time out at the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival at the same course.
Trainer Nicky Henderson said: "Claimantakinforgan won well the other day and is in good form but he's up in class. Its a strong race but he deserves to take his chance."
The unbeaten Mr One More returns to Ascot, along with the horse who got very close to beating him last month, Dr Des.
Also back at the scene of his biggest win is Coeur Blimey, who beat Ballyandy in the Listed Bumper two years ago, and arrives fresh from a win in a Wincanton handicap.
"I just want to keep him to small fields at the moment and to learn his job," said trainer Sue Gardner. "He has not done an awful lot of racing and he has had a few problems. He goes well at Ascot."
Theclockisticking has won his last two for Stuart Edmunds who said: "I hope he is as good as the handicapper says he is. If he's right that would put him there with every chance."