Danny Kirwan Makes Debut over Hurdles at Kempton5 min read
RSA Chase winner Presenting Percy is the new 5/1 favourite for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March following Bristol De Mai’s convincing win in the Betfair chase at Haydock on Saturday. The fences at the Lancashire track came in for criticism with many professionals suggesting they were too stiff – seven of the 25 runners in the four chases on the card either fell or unseated.
Native River (6s from 5s) and Might Bite (7s from 9/2) were pushed out for the Gold Cup although I am not convinced Saturday’s form will be upheld at Kempton for Boxing Day.
At Kempton this afternoon I am looking forward to the hurdles debut of Danny Kirwan (12.55) who faces just two rivals in the opening novice hurdle. The selection won a point back in his native Ireland before beating Nicky Henderson’s Pym here in a Bumper back in February. He disappointed on heavy ground in the Aintree Bumper, but he is already 25/1 for the Supreme Novice Hurdle and should make a winning start over timber.
Trainer Richard Bandy landed a gamble with Hard Station at Market Rasen last week and Eyeswideopenwideawake (2.35) won this corresponding race 12 months ago when trained by Harry Whittingham from a 2lbs lower mark.
The selection showed little for his new yard at Bangor last month but that was his first start in over 300 days, he is entitled to come on for that run and the handicapper has dropped him 3lbs.
There are races to be won with Sao from his current mark, but the big question is will he settle on his seasonal reappearance for Lorcan Williams? If so he will take all the beating, but I was very impressed with Fairway Freddie (3.40) at Wincanton on Thursday and I’m not convinced a 7lbs penalty will prevent him doubling up for Nick Gifford. Rex Dingle rode him very well at the Somerset track and I hope to see him in the plate again although, at the time if writing, there is no jockey booking.
At Ludlow winning pointer Hugos Horse (1.05) begins life in novice handicap chases from a mark of just 100 and this five-year-old is likely to be a different proposition for his leading connections. Sam Twiston-Davies takes the ride with Harry Cobden at Kempton Park and the former – a previous stable jockey for Nicholls – was in the plate when Politilogue won for the yard at Ascot at the weekend.
Vivaccio (1.40) has won first time out at Ludlow previously and he gets the nod running from a mark 9lbs lower than when third here on his seasonal reappearance last season. Sternrubin will make sure there is no hanging about and if Vivaccio is within hailing distance as they come to four out, he must have a leading chance.
Born For War (NAP 1.55) failed to justify favouritism on his first start for Keith Dalgleish but he gets the vote reverting to the larger obstacles at Musselburgh. The 6-year-old failed to complete in two of his three points but finished runner up in two starts over fences for Tom George and the Rooneys must have seen enough to persevere with the horse.
Cap St Vincent (3.00) did us a favour at Ludlow last time and he can follow up from an 8lb higher mark for Tim Vaughan. The five-year-old won by 8l last time but would have come home clear had he not missed out three out.
Born For War (NAP)
Cap St Vincent