Adonis Juvenile Hurdle tips and runner-by-runner guide to Saturday’s 1.50 at Kempton

Your one-stop shop to Saturday's Grade 2 at Kempton.

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The Adonis Juvenile Hurdle used to be a key trial for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival but the last horse to achieve the double was Zarkandar all the way back in 2011.

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A field of 11 runners have been declared for Saturday’s Grade 2 at Kempton. Paul Nicholls’ new recruit Pleasant Man, who beat Triumph joint-favourite Pied Piper on the Flat in September 2020, makes his debut over flights while Knight Salute could strengthen his claims for next month’s big race if he scores here to take his winning streak to five in a row. You’ll find Timeform’s guide to the runners and betting tips below.

Adonis Juvenile Hurdle runners

Impulsive One

Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: James Bowen Age: 4 Weight: 11st 3lbs

Landed back-to-back juvenile hurdles in the autumn and, fit from Flat, impressed when landing listed juvenile at Musselburgh (15.5f) 3 weeks ago. No surprise to see him thereabouts.

Knight Salute

Trainer: Milton Harris Jockey: Paddy Brennan Age: 4 Weight: 11st 3lbs

Lost his way on the Flat but excellent start over hurdles, making it 4-4 in determined style in Doncaster Grade 2 in December. Given a break since and he holds serious claims once more.

Big Boy Bobby

Trainer: Alan King Jockey: Tom Cannon Age: 4 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Fairly useful on Flat for Roger Charlton and promising start over hurdles for new yard, building on debut effort when second at Huntingdon (15.8f) last month. In good hands but this tougher.

Graystone

Trainer: Lucy Wadham Jockey: Aidan Coleman Age: 4 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Has taken well to hurdling, showing no ill effects from his Taunton fall when landing Wetherby juvenile (2m), always holding on. No reason why he won’t go well again.

Iroko

Trainer: Oliver Greenall Jockey: Jonjo O’Neill Jr. Age: 4 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Promise in a bumper/hurdle in France and solid start for new yard when fourth behind Porticello in Grade 1 Finale Hurdle at Chepstow over Christmas. Highly likely there is more to come.

Moka De Vassy

Trainer: Mrs Jane Williams Jockey: Chester Williams Age: 4 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Karaktar gelding who has progressed with each outing over hurdles, keeping on for second behind Pied Piper in Triumph Hurdle trial last month. Claims of hitting the frame again.

Patient Dream

Trainer: Oliver Greenall Jockey: Nick Scholfield Age: 4 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Useful on Flat, winning 3 handicaps in 2021 (sold from Ralph Beckett, 68,000 gns). Not kicked on from promising hurdle debut second at Wetherby in 2 subsequent starts and this deeper again.

Pleasant Man

Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Harry Cobden Age: 4 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Useful stayer on Flat who looked as good as ever when landing 14f Yarmouth handicap in September (for Roger Charlton). Acquired for 175,000 gns thereafter and he’s deserving of respect now hurdling.

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Rubaud

Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Bryony Frost Age: 4 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Brother to useful hurdler Francin (2m-2¾m winner). Useful himself on Flat in France for P. Decouz (stays 15f) and betting should prove a useful guide with yard also saddling Pleasant Man. Tongue tied.

Teddy Blue

Trainer: Gary Moore Jockey: Jamie Moore Age: 4 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Fairly useful on Flat in France (stays 14f) and definite encouragement from yard/hurdles debut second in a Lingfield novice (2m) recently, paying price for racing freely. Improvement expected.

The Famous Five

Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Charlie Deutsch Age: 4 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Camelot gelding who showed fairly useful form in winning twice at up to 1½m in France last year. New yard went to €250,000 to acquire him since and another requiring close market scrutiny now hurdling.

Adonis Juvenile Hurdle tips

Matt Chapman: Pleasant Man was once a Classic hope for Roger Charlton, but he will have to be very good to defeat KNIGHT SALUTE who is on a five-timer and wasn’t a mug on the Flat himself. There was probably about 20lbs between the two on the level so if Pleasant Man loves jumping he will go well, but Knight Salute has been good at Cheltenham and Doncaster recently and should be hard to stop once again for Paddy Brennan and trainer Milton Harris even if he has to give weight away.

Mick Fitzgerald: Trained by one of the real characters of British racing, Milton Harris comes from a non-racing background and started out on cruise ships 30 years ago. He once even went out with Belinda Carlisle and had Cary Grant as a drinking buddy! He can train horses though and has a lively one on his hands now. KNIGHT SALUTE is 4-4 over hurdles and is the best of those with hurdles form here. The unknown, however, is how those who are yet to race over obstacles in the UK will get on. Some of them have shown plenty in France and Paul Nicholls runs two similar types. He won this with Zarkandar before he went on to win the Triumph afterwards. Knight Salute is rated 137 and if you are to be a major player in the Triumph hurdle you need to be rated 145+ so he’ll need to step up, but can do it.

Timeform: A useful stayer on the Flat, PLEASANT MAN looked as good as ever when adding to his tally at Yarmouth in September. Acquired for 175,000 gns by his leading jumps outfit, he’s just the type to make his mark over hurdles and could well be the way to go. That said, Knight Salute arrives defending an unbeaten record of 4-4 and is highly respected. Impulsive One and Teddy Blue complete the shortlist.

Ruby Walsh: KNIGHT SALUTE has the best form and he beat Porticello and Impulsive One at Doncaster. I don’t think that was a fluke. If you’re having a bet in this, you’d be smart go get on Knight Salute. However, with antepost in mind, Pleasant Man makes sense as he could be a Triumph winner next month.

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