Top National Hunt trainers, including Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls, have been offering a share in an owner's syndicate for less than £100 all in, writes Dave Wright.

That's cheap and no doubt hundreds of racing fans will take up the kind offer.

It can lead to exciting days out at meetings, dreaming of a win, but equally frustrating if your horse finishes down the field and is then kept off the course for several weeks due to injury.

For a group of owners at Ascot on Saturday, it was a day to remember.

A 20-strong syndicate, having paid £500 each, saw their colours carried to victory by Vosne Romanee in the Byrne Group Handicap Chase, a Class 1 race, worth more than £34,500.

And no doubt their winnings would have been increased by a few bets with the seven-year-old, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies and trained by Dr Richard Newland, being returned at 13/2.

A winner twice at Stratford in July, the gelding was making a quick re-appearance after being pulled up at Cheltenham a week earlier on good ground.

This improved form raised eyebrows among the Ascot Stewards, but they accepted the explanation from the trainer's representative that Vosne Romanee was suited by the quicker ground on this occasion.

Sadly, only five of the six runners finished safely, with the odds-on favourite Shantou Rock from Dan Skelton's yard, suffering a fatal injury when stumbling badly on landing at the first fence.

The loss of one of their stable stars ruined their day, as earlier 11/4 favourite New Quay, ridden by Harry Skelton, had stormed home 10 lengths clear to win the Gardiner & Theobalds Novices' Handicap Hurdle on his first course appearance since January.

"He's got a lovely future ahead of him, especially as a chaser," commented trainer Dan.

It was also a family affair in the Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase with Traffic Fluide (4/1) winning for Joshua and trainer Gary Moore, who suggested that the eight-year-old could possibly become his first ever Grand National runner.

Earlier, Ascot's first race of their National Hunt season had gone the way of 11/2 shot Anemoi, ridden by Gavin Sheehan and trained by Harry Whittington. The four-year-old, who didn't jump particularly well in the middle of the race, finished two and quarter lengths ahead of heavily-backed 4/7 favourite Pym, trained by Nicky Henderson.

However, Henderson was in the winner's enclosure after the Ascot Underwriting Chase with 13/8 favourite Wenyerreadyfreddie, ridden by Jeremiah McGrath, scorching home 18 lengths clear of runner-up Caid Du Lin.

Another impressive winner was Alan King's Fidux (9/1) in the Bet with Ascot Handicap Hurdle. In the hands of Wayne Hutchinson, the five-year-old ran away from a good field to win by eight lengths from Global Citizen.

The final race of the day, the Maria O'Grady Memorial Standard Open National Hunt Race, was won by Emitom (3/1), the mount of apprentice Harry Teal and trained by Warren Greatrex at Lambourn.

Ascot's next meeting is on Friday and Saturday, November 23-24.