Ascot is likely to feature prominently once more in Jeremy’s Scott’s plans for his Grade One-winning chaser Dashel Drasher.
The eight-year-old was a three-time winner last season, capping his hat-trick of victories – all at the Berkshire course – with a two-length success in the Grade One Ascot Chase in February.
The same race is on Somerset trainer Scott’s radar this season, but there is a decision to be made as to whether Dashel Drasher will otherwise remain at a two-mile-five-furlong trip or step up to three miles.
Next month’s Grade Two 1965 Chase is a likely starting point back at Ascot, over the intermediate distance.
“At the moment we’re looking at going back to Ascot again, that’s the Grade Two in November,” said Scott.
“He’s very well – we’ve had his owners up, and he looks an absolute picture. We could have gone for the Old Roan Chase, but he’s a bit too porky for that.
“We didn’t bother entering (there), but he’s very well – we’re all systems go, I hope.”
The King George VI Chase is under consideration should Dashel Drasher step up in trip, but if not then a defence of his Ascot crown may be the plan.
“I think we’re going to have to a make a decision as to whether we stick at that trip or go up,” added Scott.
“Really I think after the Ascot run we’ll have to make a call on whether we do step him up to three miles.
“The King George might be something to look at.
“It’s slightly vague at the minute. He does seem so good at Ascot over two miles and five, and I think the odds are we’ll stick at it, but it’s quite difficult to find races for him, particularly near Christmas.
“The plan is to go to Ascot anyway and come up with some conclusions as a result of that run – ultimately he’ll probably go back to the race he won there last year in February.”
Dashel Drasher has struck up a successful partnership with jockey Matt Griffiths throughout this career, with the rider on board for all but three of his 17 career starts.
Griffiths was hospitalised after suffering a head injury in a road collision earlier this month, and Scott will therefore be required to find a new pilot for the upcoming campaign.
“It’s very much under discussion – if I could use someone who’s already linked to the yard then that would be ideal,” he said.
“We’re looking at Rex Dingle. The trouble is we want somebody that will stick with the horse, rather than riding him one time and then not the next because they’ve got other commitments, so I’d say Rex would be fairly well up the list.”