The Nightingale winning the ladbrokes.com Chase at Down RoyalPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Nightingale into 12-1 as rain travels to Kempton
KAUTO STAR's stablemate The Nightingale almost halved in price with one bookmaker for the William Hill King George VI Chase on Sunday after it became increasingly apparent that horses suited by soft ground could be helped by a forecast for significant rain this week.
While the four-time King George hero remains 5-6 favourite with the sponsors to strike for a fifth time, it was The Nightingale, a soft ground winner on his seasonal reappearance at Down Royal, who moved in the market on Sunday with Totesport cutting him to 12-1 from 20-1.
Giving his own vote of confidence to Sam Thomas's mount, trainer Paul Nicholls said: "The Nightingale is going to love the ground. He is an unexposed horse, he has progressed and he loves to go right-handed, so he has an awful lot in his favour.
"If it was a handicap he would be giving Long Run 9lb and with the ground coming right it puts him in the mix. He deserves to be in the race without a shadow of a doubt."
Explaining Totesport's decision to act warily about The Nightingale, spokesman George Primarolo said: "With several inches of rain forecast for the next few days, conditions at Kempton could well be more testing than first thought and this should play into the hands of soft ground horses like The Nightingale who should relish any ease in the ground."
Kempton's racing surface was officially recorded on Sunday as good to soft, soft in places, a description that could threaten the participation of good ground lovers Planet Of Sound and Albertas Run.
Clerk of the course Barney CliffordPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
Clerk of the course Barney Clifford said: "We have three separate bands of rain coming in and could get 15mm to 25mm. It will ease the ground, but Kempton can take a fair amount of rain and can drain quickly in a day.
"I think we will end up on the soft side, but it's fresh ground that we haven't raced on for ten months, so I don't think it will be that testing."
A Met Office spokesperson added: "It should be a wet week. Rain will not get to the area until Monday night when there could be quite a bit of rain, some of it heavy at times.
"There will be more rain on Tuesday night into Wednesday and then the forecast for the rest of the week is unsettled with rain possible on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday."