Kempton has some of the last chances for Cheltenham Festival clues, and historically some Festival winners have won the Adonis and the Dovecote. The Pendil is a perfect opportunity for Cyrname to get on the scoresheet again. He ran a cracker at Sandown and with that run over the trip under his belt, he will be tough to get past. He is a superb jumper and can really use that now they know he stays.
The Adonis has a rich list of Triumph Hurdle victors among the previous winners – Katarino, Penzance and Soldatino to name just a few. Redicean has been really impressive in his two wins but his jumping has been moderate – this is a surprise as Alan King schools his juveniles so they perform over the obstacles. If his jumping is more fluent he would deserve to be odds on here, but it isn’t.
I really like the French-trained Beau Gosse as a decent each-way. This horse performed at a high level in France last year and a reproduction of any of his best form is good enough to be really competitive here.
Plenty of decent ex-flat horses in the Dovecote trying to do what Flown did and win here before a tilt at the Festival.
Scarlet Dragon has had a wind op and was a really decent flat horse; he will have been well schooled by Alan King and sets a high standard here.
Humphrey Bogart for my old boss Nicky Henderson is one I saw schooling well this week and he is of interest. But the each-way bet is one with hurdling form: Michaels Mount was a nice winner in a good time at Doncaster and represents real value against some horses with no jumping experience.
Acting Lass has carried all before him in his three starts over fences and is on a roll. I think he is going to be better over this trip but is quite short in the betting. Harry Fry is still not banging in the winners as regularly as you would like, and this horse is also short-priced.
The value each-way bet in this race is Tintern Theatre, currently 6/1, who has already won at the track. He can be forgiven for a moderate effort when conditions were atrocious at Haydock, and is attractively weighted this time. The other one for value is Theatre Territory. She ran a nice race at Cheltenham behind Master Whittaker, and with cheek pieces on for the first time could run well at a decent price.
There will be a slow motion finish to this race, so looking for horses with no stamina doubts is the key.
Hainan is one that doesn’t mind a slog in the mud and if he jumps okay will definitely be there or thereabouts at the end. Milansbar got into a lovely rhythm at Warwick and if he can find that again will perform here too.
But the each-way bet for me is Thebarrowman. This lad is relatively unexposed and was a beaten favourite last time in a competitive race at Punchestown. He has some decent form to his name and is trained by AP Keatley, a man who knows the time of day – as he showed when winning an Irish classic with Jet Setting.
This sprint was won last year by Royal Birth and Stuart Williams has a knack with these horses. Going back to a 5f trip should see this horse happier, and is a good value bet.
Clear Skies has been a revelation in the last 12 months, and could well carry it on here. They don’t know how good he really is.
Convey is the each-way choice as a winner of the race last year.
All odds correct at time of posting.