Alan does well at this Kempton meeting – here’s hoping for Saturday!

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February 26

Alan has traditionally done well at this week-end’s Kempton meeting, and Tritonic is not his only major player on the Sunbury course on Saturday, with our Grand National hope Talkischeap also in action in the Close Brothers Handicap Chase.

Talkischeap needs a run over fences to qualify for the world’s greatest steeplechase, and Alan said:”The change in the weather has come at the right time for Talkischeap, who is so much more effective when the ground is good.

“He ran a very encouraging third in a jumpers bumper at Lingfield, staying on well in a race for which the form has been franked by the winner scoring again since.

“Talkischeap has not had much racing since he ran away with the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown two years ago, as, besides being ground dependent, he underwent wind surgery. However, he has schooled well for what will be his first race over fences since he ran in this race 12 months ago. He still has plenty of ability and the engine is still there, but he just needs some match practice.”

All our six eggs on Saturday are in the Kempton basket, and, summing up his other chances there, he added:”Son of Red needs a third run over timber by the end of the week if we are going to take up our entry in the Boodles at the Cheltenham Festival.

“We had him well entered up this week, but we’ve opted for the Dovecote, and I am never worried about taking on the older horses with a juvenile in this race as they receive 9lb and we took advantage of the weight concession when winning it both with Grumeti and Trenchant.

“Son of Red has done well physically for his midwinter break, having looked a bit weak when he did not quite get up the hill and finished only third at Cheltenham in December. He has come back stronger and a more mature horse.

Major Dundee has his first run in a handicap in the two mile and five hurdle. He is learning all the time and was only beaten a short head at Doncaster in December, while The Devils Drop, who has been been waiting for the ground to dry out, returns in the two and a half mile handicap chase. This trip will be on the sharp side for him, but he should have a good blow which should serve him well for the rest of the season.

“Finally, we have Howzat Valtat in the bumper. He has done plenty and is ready to start, but he’ll improve for the experience.”