Giant framed chaser Le Reve is to be thrust into the big time after being confirmed as a runner in the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase at Newbury.
The six-year-old, who stands 17.2 hands tall, will attempt to follow up his 21-length rout on his seasonal reappearance at Sandown last month and hand Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham a winner with her first runner in the race, when tackling this year’s renewal of the 3m2f Grade Three handicap on Saturday.
Over the years, the race has been won by some of the greatest chasers in the sport including the legendary Arkle, One Man and Denman.
“Although the race is very competitive it is nice to be able to have a horse good enough to run in it,” said Wadham. “Le Reve has improved a lot over his summer break and he has strengthened up, which you would expect as he is only a six-year-old.
“We were not expecting him to win by that far at Sandown, but it was the aim to win first time out to try get into the Hennessy. The first part of the plan is now complete, so it is now on to the second part.
“The Hennessy has been a good race for second-season chasers and he has a lovely racing weight.
“The one negative would be the heavy going as it wouldn’t be ideal. We go there hopeful rather than optimistic.”
Joining the son of Milan on the card at Newbury on Saturday from Wadham’s yard will be former course winner Baby Shine, who is set to run in the bet365 Handicap Chase.
While things did not quite go to plan for the eight-year-old mare on her seasonal re-appearance when finishing only seventh in the Grade Three European Breeders Fund T.A Morris Memorial Mares’ Chase at Clonmel, Wadham believes that run can be overlooked.
“Baby Shine is a former winner at Newbury and it is the ideal trip for her and hopefully she will put up a good show,” said Wadham. “The race in Ireland was run in bottomless ground and the leader was given a soft lead and only one jockey cottoned on to this.
“When the others realised they weren’t coming back it was too late and they couldn’t catch them in that ground.
“You can put a line through that run.”
Today Wadham will hand Lanceur his first run over timber at the Berkshire track in a Class Three two-mile novices’ hurdle.
“Lanceur is a lovely horse who had good form on the Flat in France but he hasn’t run for a while so he will come on for the run,” said Wadham. “We are not expecting him to win as it might take him two or three races to get his jumping right.”