Tag Archive for: Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle

Hansard reports for Dovecote duty at Kempton

Gary Moore looks to have the trump card in the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton as Hansard looks to maintain his unbeaten record over obstacles.

A winner of both outings over timber so far, he gave 7lb to Betfair Hurdle sixth Master Chewy when impressing at Plumpton at the turn of the year.

Freshened up for this Grade Two contest since, Moore hopes the Noel Fehily Racing-owned five-year-old – who is a 40-1 shot for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with race sponsor Sky Bet – can continue on his upward curve at a track that could play to his speedy strengths.

“He’s done nothing wrong so far and is a horse we like a lot,” said Moore.

“The track will suit him as he’s not slow. We would like the ground to have a bit more give in it, but you’ve got to take what you’re given at the moment.

“He’s a very nice horse and I would like to think he’ll keep going (upwards). This has always been the plan since Huntingdon when he won his first hurdle race and he will be going there fresh. Hopefully he can run a big race.”

His chief market rival appears to be Paul Nicholls’ Rubaud, who was somewhat disappointing when quietly fancied for the Betfair Hurdle, but has some smart novice form in the book from his prior efforts.

“He has taken to hurdles so well that I fancied him in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, but he ruined his chance by pulling like a train in the first half of the race,” Nicholls told Betfair.

“Harry (Cobden) didn’t give him a hard time once it was clear he was beaten. I’m putting on a hood to help Rubaud relax better and he should be much happier back in novice company in a smaller field of runners round a track where he ran well at Christmas.”

Jonjo O’Neill’s Huntingdon scorer Imperial Bede and Chris Gordon’s Kayf Legend both arrive on the back of victories and are worth their place in the field, while Olly Murphy is hoping good ground can see Ukantango back to his best having struggled in testing conditions when tackling the Tolworth.

He said: “We’re looking forward to running him back on better ground, he hated the ground at Sandown in the Tolworth – it was bottomless heavy and you either love it or hate it there and he absolutely hated it.

“He seems in very good form and doesn’t seem a million miles wrong at the ratings. His Cheltenham run reads very well and we’re looking forward to him running.”

Mullenbeg, here winning the Alan Swinbank Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race at Cheltenham, looks to book her ticket back to the Festival at Kempton on Saturday
Mullenbeg, here winning the Alan Swinbank Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race at Cheltenham, looks to book her ticket back to the Festival at Kempton on Saturday (David Davies/PA)

The field for the Grade Two event is completed by the Milton Harris-trained pair of Mullenbeg and Postmark – with the latter turning out quickly following success in a Newbury maiden last weekend.

“Mullenbeg has had a lovely break,” said Harris. “She knocked herself when she ran at Cheltenham when she finished sixth, which I probably ran her in too quickly (after her win at Ludlow).

“She’s never been as well as I’ve got her now, she’s in a great place. She gets a 7lb mares’ allowance which brings her in line with some of the geldings. If you asked what does she want, I would say a quick two miles on a sharp track and nice ground and that is what she has.

“She’s already been a success, she won a Listed bumper and three hurdle races and this will tell us if she should be going to the Mares’ Novice at the Cheltenham Festival.”

On Postmark, he added: “He’s rated 89 on the Flat. Unfortunately he wants nice ground and we’ve ran out of time a bit to get him three runs to get him qualified for the Boodles, if we go that route.

“This Saturday is the last weekend you can run before you get a mark for the Boodles. He will be doing his best and I can see him running into a place, which would give him a mark if we choose to go that route.

“He needs to run well to justify that thought, but Harry (Redknapp) is a new owner and the horse has already won on the Flat and won last week at Newbury, so he’s turned out to be a successful purchase.”

Datsalrightgino has the chance to avenge his narrow Newton Abbot defeat at the hands of Boothill in the Coral Pendil Novices’ Chase that is also on the card.

Jamie Snowden’s seven-year-old enjoyed the step up in trip when second to Stage Star on Festival Trials day and receives 5lb from Harry Fry’s Wayward Lad winner as they rematch over a longer distance.

“He’s a smashing horse who has progressed all season,” said Snowden.

“He did well to win over two miles but has improved for going up to two and a half as you saw the last day when he chased home Stage Star at Cheltenham – that was a good performance.

“Obviously he reopposes Boothill, who he took on at Newton Abbot earlier in the season and Boothill now has a 5lb penalty for winning the Grade Two over Christmas.

“It’s a competitive little race, but hopefully he goes there with a decent chance with good prize money on offer.”

Nicholls has an imperious record in this Grade Two contest winning it six times in the last 10 years.

He has sent out the victor in the past two seasons and looks to bring up the hat-trick with Solo, who won the Adonis on this day in 2020 and arrives on the back of a wind operation with some smart chasing form in the book.

“He has run really well on all three starts over fences this season and worked nicely at home on Friday morning,” said Nicholls.

Ladbrokes Christmas Festival – Desert Orchid Chase Day – Kempton Park
Solo ridden by jockey Bryony Frost competes in the Ladbrokes Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) during at Kempton in 2021 (Steven Paston/PA)

“The form of his second to Balco Coastal at this track on Boxing Day is strong, he was giving 8lb to the winner and Solo has since had a little op to cauterise his palate.

“Track, trip and ground are ideal for our horse, who won the Adonis Hurdle in eyecatching fashion on this card three years ago.

“We have a great record in the Pendil, having won it in six of the last 10 years and Solo has decent claims of adding his name to the roll of honour.”

Nicky Henderson’s Tweed Skirt and Dan Skelton’s Jay Jay Reilly are also engaged.



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