St Andrews Holdings Championship Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed race) l 1m7½f l 4-6yo | RUK
Gallahers Cross has his first outing for Nicky Henderson in a strong Listed finale in which ten of the 14 runners are winners.
The five-year-old won twice for Peter Fahey in Ireland, most recently by six and a half lengths at Galway in October, before changing hands for £260,000 at the Cheltenham sales last month.
Although the form of his latest win has been let down by the runner-up, a stiff two miles will play to the strengths of Gallahers Cross, whom Henderson is still finding out about.
Henderson said: "I don't know that much about him and it's his first run for us which will tell us a bit more. He looks a nice type but we said we'd give him a run in this before thinking about going hurdling."
Also unbeaten is Posh Trish, the only filly in the race, who was most impressive when adding to a point and bumper win in a Listed contest at Cheltenham last month.
The Paul Nicholls-trained four-year-old is owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, whose racing manager Harry Herbert said: "It will be interesting to see how Posh Trish gets on against the boys but the trainer is very positive about her chances. She's a very progressive filly who would be right up there with the best in our team at present. The jumping division seems very popular and we seem to have some nice horses on our hands this year."
Fergal O'Brien fires two bullets at the £30,000 contest in the shape of Herecomestheboom and Strong Glance, who both won on their first start under rules. However, O'Brien is unsure about the suitability of the ground.
He said: "It's drying soft ground which will make it tough for everyone. Herecomestheboom has strong form from his win at Cheltenham in October and is a nice type. Strong Glance's form got let down when the second was beaten the other day but he has improved since and deserves a crack at the decent prize-money."
Warren Greatrex fields Portrush Ted who knows all about Ascot having chased home Nestor Park over course and distance last time. Greatrex said: "It's a very hot race but he's a nice horse and has improved for his last run. My only concern would be if it dried out too much as he wants it really soft."
Making the switch from the all-weather to turf is the JP McManus-owned Didtheyleaveuoutto, who surprised his trainer Nick Gifford by the manner of his ten-length win on debut at Lingfield last month.
He said: "I wasn't surprised that he won, only by the ease of it. He's going on turf now and we'll see how he gets on but the form of these all-weather bumpers can be a bit misleading. If he handles the ground he won't be far away and this will tell us whether that was a flash in the pan or not."