There were three Grade 2 hurdles run at Kempton Park on Saturday and the slowest time was recorded by the most impressive winner Solo in the juvenile Adonis Hurdle. Solo was cut from 10s to 4/1 for the Triumph Hurdle with BetVictor in the immediate aftermath of the race and, subsequently, trimmed again to 3/1.
While he was visually impressive, scoring by 13L, the runner up, Fujimoto Flyer, was keen to post, refused to settle, met trouble in running and failed to get home. I am not convinced Solo achieved all that much although the fact that trainer Paul Nicholls compared him with his brilliant Champion Chaser Master Minded post-race suggests he is held in some regard at home. He will be an exciting novice chaser next term, but the likes of Goshen and Allmankind will provide a much sterner test at Cheltenham next month.
No jumps racing this afternoon in Britain or Ireland with the meetings at Fairyhouse, Plumpton and Carlisle all abandoned with the tracks currently waterlogged. Two all-weather cards at Wolverhampton and Southwell to look forward to, however, and we begin our preview at Dunstall Park.
The opening Novice Stakes won’t take much winning, but I thought Mukhadram Way (5.30) ran a race full of promise when a close fourth at Newcastle over today’s trip of 6f on debut, and Ben Curtis looks a significant jockey booking for Phillip Makin’s filly. Paul Hanagan gave the filly a nice introduction and she is entitled to come on for the experience.
Knock Knock has only beaten two horses’ home in his three starts to date, but a market move would be worth noting on his handicap debut. He has also had a wind operation and been gelded since his last start here back in October.
Bal Mal (6.00) finished last of 14 on his all-weather debut at Southwell, but he was backed from 20s to 9/1 when runner up on his polytrack debut at Kempton last time and is likely to run a big race on his switch to tapeta. The selection is drawn in stall one and I hope the drop back to the minimum trip helps John Quinn’s three-year-old who was bought for just £3,800 at the Doncaster sales back in October.
The feature race is a valuable 6f handicap and Concierge (7.00) has been drawn eight of eight and seven of seven in his last couple of starts and I thought he ran a good race at Kempton last time. I think the four-year-old will get 7f this turf season, but I expect Three Saints Bay and Gracious John to take them along at a good gallop and I hope Silvestre De Sousa pounces fast and late.
Dazzling Darren is likely to be all the rage for Gavin Cromwell in the mile-and-a-half handicap given looks very well treated from his current mark of 53 just 4lbs higher than when scoring at Lingfield over this evening’s distance.
I am going to take a chance, however, on the stamina of fellow Irish raider Adamaris (7.30) who was a beaten favourite here over an extended 9f here last start when she met trouble in running and was ahead a couple of strides after the line. Trainer Gerard O’Leary has saddled two winners in Britain from his last three runners and Ben Curtis takes over in the saddle.
In the 6f Maiden at Southwell I hope to see Capla (2.35) go one better than over 5f here when having his first start in over 140 days, having been gelded since his previous start. The selection showed plenty of dash on his reappearance, but today’s additional furlong should not be a problem and Luke Morris takes over in the plate this afternoon.