Regal Encore will be making his fifth appearance in the Bateaux London Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot on Saturday as a 14-year-old.
It will be his 16th race at Ascot, where he has won four times and finished placed on another six occasions for Anthony Honeyball.
Third in the race 12 months ago, he races off 13lb lower this time around, despite showing plenty of his old ability on his penultimate outing.
“His last run was in the Topham, but the one before that was back at Ascot and he actually landed over two out with a toenail in front,” said Honeyball.
“We were thinking ‘this can’t be happening again’ and while he finished fourth, it’s fine margins. It could have been his age, the younger legs got away from him, but he ran on again after the last to be fourth.
“He’s run there so many times and Richie (McLernon) rides him the same every time that they’ve all merged into one for me, I couldn’t remember one race from another!
“He’s won four of those big pots at Ascot and it’s hard to tell them apart, but he certainly ran well enough on a couple of occasions last season to let him have another go back at Ascot.”
Honeyball insists Regal Encore is displaying all his old enthusiasm at home, despite his advancing years.
“He’s a law unto himself. It may or may not mean anything but this season he’s gone back to having a lead horse because he’s been keen upsides. I’m on his lead horse at the minute because if you rode him upsides every day, he’d be doing too much,” said Honeyball.
“He’s always been that way, certainly as a youngster, but then he went through a spell of just dropping in and lobbing upsides. He’s just a bit of a lunatic but we could do with a few more like him, that’s for sure.
“It would be so awesome if he won. We definitely wouldn’t be bothering if we didn’t think there was a chance. Because of the ups and the downs at Ascot and the fast start over three miles, it suits him round there, they go downhill at speed and it finds a lot out straight away.
“If he can do his normal thing, he has a chance of being in the frame at least.”