The Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot always acts as a key trial race ahead of the Champion Chase and this weekend's renewal is looking like a top class one. A number of top two mile chasers will take their chance at Ascot and it should give punters plenty of clues ahead of the Festival in March. One of the most interesting contenders looks like being Al Ferof who we all remember winning the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Festival last season. The Paul Nicholls horse thought to be an Arkle horse this campaign but the Champion Chase is now a distinct possibility, especially if he runs well at Ascot this weekend. Nicholls is certainly bullish about the chances of his horse but as a novice chaser he may have a bit to do in this company on Saturday afternoon.
The likely favourite for the Victor Chandler Chase is the exciting Finians Rainbow who won on his seasonal debut back at Kempton over Christmas. The Nicky Henderson horse was runner-up in the Arkle this season and looks to be ideally suited for a Champion Chase crack in March. The horse made a terrible jumping mistake at Kempton and looked beaten but showed plenty of heart to stay on for the win ahead of Wishfull Thinking, who he will re match with at Ascot. There is no doubt that Sizing Europe remains the one to beat in this division as we head to Cheltenham but the Victor Chandler should help punters to decide his closest challenger. Al Ferof is something of an unknown quantity at this level which makes him an interesting runner, while the likes of Finians Rainbow and Wishfull Thinking will be looking to improve for their last run with this likely to be all three's final appearance before the Festival.