In the first weekly newsletter, we look back at last week’s runners Chic Name & Caprice D’anglais and the big news about Kempton Park
The week started last Monday with the shocking news about the Jockey Club’s proposal to sell off Kempton Park for redevelopment. Part of the proposal would see the King George Chase move to Sandown, but it wouldn’t be the same race at the venue. Kempton suits a certain type of horse, it’s a flat track and you’re almost certain to get decent jumping ground. If you wanted to step a good horse up in trip, with an eye on the Gold Cup, then the King George at Kempton would be the ideal starting point. A race as rich in history as the King George, with so many famous winners, shouldn’t be shunted about like this. A beautiful and prestigious track like Kempton, hosting a Boxing day spectacle, is part of the beauty of jumps racing and it would be a real shame to lose that.
‘Chico’ & Caprice jump well, but fall short
On Saturday, Chic Name travelled to Wetherby for a 2m3 novice handicap. Sadly, by the time we got there, the ground had improved and it was essentially too good for him. He likes plenty of rain and give in the ground, but there wasn’t much of that. Despite all that, he put in a good round of jumping under Conor O’Farrell. Conor let him bowl along in front and he was enjoying himself, jumping with ears pricked in the early stages. He set a decent gallop and tried to kick off the home turn, but his two main rivals went by after three out and he couldn’t quicken any further to challenge them, on ground better than ideal. He finished third in the end by fifteen lengths. He’s desperate for a step up in trip and there’s a three mile novice chase at Warwick in February that could be his next target.
Two days earlier, Caprice D’anglais ran in the opening handicap chase at Leicester, again under Conor O’Farrell. He wasn’t entirely convincing at the start, trying to edge out and back away, but eventually decided to join the others when the flag dropped. He took and early lead and jumped pretty well all the way ’round, but a better jump by his rival four out saw him headed. He kept on in second until the last fence, but tired quickly after that and finished an eased down fifth. He got in a bit of a battle for the lead and that perhaps took its toll after a busy period. He’d taken a fair bump in the weights from the handicapper, up twelve lbs from his Boxing Day win under a penalty (which would’ve been a hattrick, but for unseating when in control at Leicester). The hike in the weights, along with the exertions of a busy few weeks probably told in the end. He’ll have a bit of a rest now, before potentially taking in a race at Catterick in February.
Focus on Fulgus and Rose
Two more runners entered up this weekend, with Fulgus having entries on Friday at Chepstow and Sunday at Hereford.We’re hoping he can improve for obstacles, having pulled pretty hard in his last bumper run. He’s had a bit of a cough all the time between his races at Fakenham and Huntingdon, but he’s seemingly over that now. He’s still very green and he’ll definitely come on for the experience.
Our other entry is Dame Rose in the mares’ bumper at Hereford on Sunday. It looks another decent race, but we think a lot of her and the form of her debut fifth at Worcester has worked out pretty well. The fourth, eighth and ninth have all won since, while the other runners around her have hit the frame in subsequent races. She gets the four year old allowance for this race and hopefully she can make the most of that. She’s going well at home, so we’re hoping she can cope with the much softer conditions compared to last time.
Finally, Valadom is in good order ahead of the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham on trials day, but with Alain Cawley still out injured, we’ll have to find someone to ride him!