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Aintree Grade One winner Ahoy Senor set for chasing debut at Carlisle

Ahoy Senor won at 66/1 in the Grade One Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree last season; Lucinda Russell's novice chaser looks set to face Harry Skelton's Cadzand at Carlisle on Thursday; Russell trained One For Arthur to Grand National glory in 2017

Ahoy Senor taking Grade One honours at Aintree
Image: Ahoy Senor taking Grade One honours at Aintree in the Sefton Novices' Hurdle

Lucinda Russell is feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement ahead of stable star Ahoy Senor's debut over fences at Carlisle on Thursday.

The point-to-point recruit finished second in an Ayr bumper on his debut under Rules in January before returning to the Scottish track to make a successful start over hurdles at the start of March.

Ahoy Senor was a widely unconsidered 66-1 shot when then stepped up to Grade One level for the Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree's Grand National meeting.

Ahoy Senor leading the way at Aintree
Image: Ahoy Senor leading the way at Aintree

But having produced a dominant front-running display to defeat the high-class Bravemansgame, the six-year-old heads into the autumn as perhaps the brightest jumping prospect in the north.

"It's funny, isn't it - it becomes a responsibility. The better the horse is, it's almost as though the less he belongs to you and the more you have a responsibility to everyone else," said Russell.

"You obviously have a responsibility to the owners and the jockeys and everyone here in the yard, but also to everyone else as well that's supporting."

Vertem Futurity live on Sky Sports Racing
Vertem Futurity live on Sky Sports Racing

Watch the Vertem Futurity at Doncaster live on Sky Sports Racing on Saturday, October 23 at 3.15pm

Ahoy Senor is set to face four rivals in the two-and-a-half-mile Introducing Racing TV Novices' Chase, although his participation in Cumbria is ground dependent.

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Russell added: "We'll see if they get any rain and what the situation is in the morning, but he only needs it to be on the soft side of good.

Lucinda Russell
Image: Lucinda Russell sends Grade One hurdler Ahoy Senor to Carlisle for chasing debut

"If he did go, it's half a mile shorter than ideal, but he won over two and a half miles over hurdles - and it will be good to get some experience into him and see where we go from there.

"He's a lovely horse to school. He's been really well produced from the British point-to-point field and he's done loads of schooling before - it's just natural to him.

Cadzand is in opposition to Ahoy Senor at Carlisle
Image: Cadzand is in opposition to Ahoy Senor at Carlisle

"Hopefully this [going chasing] will take him to another level again."

The biggest threat to Ahoy Senor appears to be Cadzand, who won three of his five starts over hurdles for Dan Skelton.

Deluxe Range (Sandy Thomson), Tupelo Mississippi (Brian Ellison) and Hardy Du Seuil (Jamie Snowden) - who made it no further than the first fence on his British bow at Wetherby last week - are the other hopefuls.

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