Clarence House Chase: El Fabiolo backed for Ascot clash with Jonbon | Racing News

Clarence House Chase: El Fabiolo backed for Ascot clash with Jonbon | Racing News

Despite four consecutive victories, Barry Geraghty believes Jonbon doesn’t have the ability to topple El Fabiolo in Saturday’s Clarence House Chase at Ascot, live on Sky Sports Racing.

Willie Mullins’ star seven-year-old has been successful on his last six starts – including victory over Jonbon in last year’s Arkle at Cheltenham – and is the odds-on favourite to win this weekend’s showpiece.

It was the meeting at Cheltenham’s Old Course last March that really highlighted the gulf between the front runners for Geraghty.

He said: “El Fabiolo had Jonbon six-and-a-half lengths behind him at the Arkle, and I don’t think there was any excuse for Jonbon on the day.

“El Fabiolo was very untidy at the last that day, that’s the thing he would have to improve, his jumping. If you don’t have your thinking cap on running away from the stands at Ascot, you could pay the price.”

The pair famously locked horns in a Novices’ Hurdle contest at Aintree in April 2022, where Jonbon clinched victory by the barest of margins.

Geraghty said: “There was only a neck between them as novice hurdlers, but a good bit further between them as novice chasers. I don’t see any reason why Jonbon could turn it around, unless El Fabiolo’s jumping lets him down.”

The other runners completing the four-strong field are Joe Tizzard’s Elixir De Nutz and Unexpected Party, trained by Dan Skelton.

L’Homme Presse and Protektorat to do battle at Lingfield

Off The Fence’s resident analyst was also keen to support the chances of a returning favourite appearing in Lingfield’s Winter Million Festival this weekend, live on Sky Sports Racing.

L’Homme Presse is set for his first outing in over a year for Venetia Williams in the Fleur De Lys Chase on Sunday (3.00). The 2022 Brown Advisory winner has not been seen since he unseated Charlie Deutsch going over the final fence in the King George VI Chase that year.

L’Homme Presse is set to return to racing after over a year out of action

The eight-year-old gelding is set to be rivalled by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Protektorat, who ran well over three miles for third on soft ground at Cheltenham this winter, amid a competitive field.

“This is two miles and six furlongs around Lingfield and good to soft, L’Homme Presse was the winner of the Scilly Isles on good-to-soft over two-and-a-half miles, so he doesn’t lack pace. For me, L’Homme Presse has the edge on pace, even though he hasn’t had a recent run. Venetia normally has them ready first time out, and if he’s anywhere near what he was, he should be hard to beat.”

All the action from Ascot and Lingfield is live on Sky Sports Racing.

Watch the Off The Fence digital show every Tuesday on the At The Races YouTube Channel.

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