Honeyball looking to Reynoldstown task with Kilbeg King

Anthony Honeyball is eyeing up a big double at Ascot and Haydock a week on Saturday.

The Dorset trainer has set his sights on landing the Grade Two Sodexo Live! Novices’ Chase with Kilbeg King, who kept on gamely when third behind Il Est Francais at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Kilbeg King was a two-time winner over hurdles last term, including a notable success at the Punchestown Festival, and has been highly tried over fences.

The nine-year-old is ante-post favourite for the Coral Trophy Handicap Chase back at Kempton later this month but will instead stay in novice company for a race registered as the Reynoldstown.

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“He was third in the Grade One Kauto Star last time out and has been shunted up the handicap, he went up 7lb for that,” said Honeyball.

“Therefore, he’s sort of worked his way into the better races, so he goes for the Reynoldstown Novices’ on the 17th.

“He actually moved into the race turning in at Kempton, having been out of the firing line – he actually moved into it quite nicely, but obviously couldn’t quite match the winner.

“He’s ante-post favourite for the Coral Trophy at Kempton as well, but we’ve got the second favourite for that in Forward Plan, and Kilbeg King will go to Ascot instead.

“His Gold Cup for quite a while has been the Reynoldstown and then if he passes that test well, and doesn’t have too hard a race, we’d be looking at the three-mile-five amateur riders’ chase at Cheltenham then.

“If Paul Nicholls doesn’t need him, we’d be hopeful of getting Will Biddick, who was second for us in the race a few years ago.

“We’d like to renew that partnership if we can, but if Paul needed him, he’d ride for Paul, I’d imagine.”

Honeyball is also hoping Credo can make it third time lucky in terms of winning at Haydock this term, as she travels back up to Merseyside for the Virgin Bet Grand National Trial.

The nine-year-old finished second and third there, behind Famous Bridge on both occasions, before a creditable fourth in the Classic Chase at Warwick.

“She could be up against Famous Bridge again, who has beaten her twice but was pulled up in the Great Yorkshire, so we might have a chance against him this time,” said Honeyball.

“She’s been ever so consistent and is a cracking mare. We feel like maybe one of these has got her name on it.

Newbury Races – Tuesday January 23rd
Trainer Anthony Honeyball (David Davies/PA).

“She’s had a lot of hard races now, so we could be due a bit of a drop off, but we have targeted this race, so we just hope we’ve got another big effort under the bonnet.

“She’ll handle the ground whichever way it goes; if it goes soft, she’ll handle it and if it goes better ground over three and a half, that’s fine as well.

“She’s probably one of those that just falls into the category of more than likely she’ll run her race, but will she always find one or two too good for her.

“But we’re just hoping this one has got her name on it.

“We’ve got horses in there in the mix for all these big races and it’s been going like that this season, which is great.”

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