ASCOT’S first meeting of the new Jumps season starts with a bang this Saturday, featuring the £100,000 Sodexo Gold Cup Chase over three miles.

Antony stole the show last year by landing the prize ahead of some high-class horses who went on to make headlines during the National Hunt season.

The Gary Moore trained six-year-old put in a perfect round of jumping and headed long-time leader Junction Fourteen over the final two fences to win in style, with Saphir Du Rheu third.

Antony will be back to defend his title this weekend in a race often used as a starting point for horses seeking Hennessy Gold Cup success at Newbury next month.

Also on the card this Saturday are the Byrne Group Handicap Chase and the competitive William Hill Handicap Hurdle, which takes place over two miles.

Last year saw Sternrubin lead from start to finish to win the William Hill Handicap Hurdle in a photo finish.

Saturday’s racing will be followed by one of the largest fireworks displays in the region.

The venue’s Plaza Lawns will boast a host of free fairground rides until 4pm and £1 per ride thereafter, with all proceeds going to local charities.

The fireworks spectacular kicks off at 6.30pm.

Gates open at 10.45pm with the first race at 12.40pm. Entry is free for under 18s.