Cheltenham Clues Thin on The Ground
With the Cheltenham Festival just over two weeks away today's quality card at Kempton Park was expected to shed some light on several of the novice events.
Alan King was bitterly disappointed when forced to withdraw Triumph Hurdle ante-post favourite Mille Chief from the grade 2 Adonis Novices' Hurdle after being found to be " hopping lame"
It will be a race against time now to get the gelding to Cheltenham and bookmakers have reacted by pushing the horse out to a best price 7/1. Alaivan is the new 5/1 favourite with the big three after Edward O'Grady's four year old recorded an impressive victory at Fairyhouse last week.
Trainer Paul Nicholls described The Nightingale, easy winner of the grade 2 Racing Post Weekender Pendil Novices' Chase, as a " definite possible " for the RSA Chase.
The gelding jumped like an old hand and cruised home under Ruby Walsh on only his second run over fences. The trainer stated that if they decide to bypass the festival the horse " will run in the two and a half mile novice chase race at Aintree ." The Nightingale is a best price 16/1 with Hills and Ladbrokes for the RSA.
Most impressive performance of the day came from Escort'men in the 2m Williamhill.com Dovecote Novices' Hurdle. Another success for the Nicholls - Walsh combination the french bred is not however entered at Cheltenham but is sure to be a major force at the Grand National fixture.
The feature race of the day the Racing Post Chase produced a thrilling finish with Razor Royale just getting home from last years' winner Nacarat, after favourite Fistral Beach took a crashing fall at the second fence.
The winner is a general 40/1 shot for the Grand National but a trip to Cheltenham for the William Hill Trophy could be the next port of call. Having shown a distinct liking for the home of jump racing the 20/1 available with Skybet and Boylesport looks outstanding value.