We send a six-strong team to Kempton on Friday
Like so many trainers, Alan was chuffed to bits by this week’s news that jump racing at Kempton, threatened by proposals to build 3,000 houses on the Sunbury course, has been given a reprieve.
Alan will be at Kempton on Friday, hoping that one or more of our six runners might end what has been a lean period for the Barbury team, though there was plenty to like about the comeback of Messire des Obeaux at Huntingdon yesterday, his awkward landing at the third last bringing what looked a promising run to a standstill.
It was Messire des Obeaux’s first run for three years, but he had looked a proper horse before his tendon injury, winning the Challow Hurdle at Newbury and finishing third at both Cheltenham and Aintree, so it was great to have him back and he travelled great through the race.
Assessing his hopes for his Kempton sextet, Alan said:”On to Victory tries to make it third time lucky in the novice hurdle. This step up in trip ought to suit him, and we need to find out whether a Cheltenham bid is a realistic dream.
“On to Victory, who has some classy form on the Flat, would have been second on his Haydock debut but for unseating his rider at the last, and he then finished third in a decent race at Newbury’s post-Christmas meeting.
“We run Perfect Harmony in the same race. He’ll be suited by the drying ground, having missed Sandown last week-end due to the testing conditions. It was his first run for nearly two years but he showed plenty of promise in the 2017-18 season.
“We are also two-handed in the novice handicap chase. Jaboticaba has been re-routed here instead of running at Doncaster on Thursday, when he would have to carry a big weight, and he, too, has been waiting for the ground to improve, having jumped and run really well when second on his first run of the winter at Huntingdon in November. We have given him a break as he does not want bottomless ground.
“Big Chief Benny is our other runner in this race. It is his first run for a year, but he is another who has been waiting for better ground for his return, so while this trip might be on the sharp side we need to get him started over fences.
“Canelo runs in the three-mile chase. He was a disappointing favourite at Sandown but he schooled well on Monday and I am looking for better from him this time.
“Finally, we have Es Perfecto making his debut in the bumper. He is a point-to-point winner whom we bought at Cheltenham in December, and I have been happy with him at home.”