All you need to know: final touches applied to festival hopefuls at Kempton
On a busy day at Kempton a total of 37 horses worked over the course on Tuesday, including a team each from the stables of Tom George and Ben Pauling. Here they run through the festival chances of their workers plus a few others . . .
Tom George, Champion Chase
He's a very stuffy horse who needs plenty of work to take him on a bit. He's in great form, as good as he's ever been. He gave it away last year by two catastrophic jumping mistakes. I'd be surprised if he's not there at the second-last. He's won three Grade 1s and put it up to the best of them. This is his time of year. He's almost got his summer coat.
Tom George, Gold Cup
It can't have been a fluke finishing second in the King George. He was always up in the wagon, he wasn't picking up the piece. I've doubt they all ran below form. The handicapper thought the same, that's why he's up to 165. He likes Cheltenham as well. He ran there as a very immature five-year-old. The hood has made a big difference.
Tom George, Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase
He goes for the Close Brothers probably. He's won two out of three and fell at the first in his other chase. He's a nice horse. We've kept him fresh for this. When he ran last year in the Pertemps he'd had a lot of racing by then.
Three to watch . . .
Black Op and Summerville Boy are probably two of the best chances for England against the Irish horses. Summerville Boy worked very well three or four days ago at home. The Worlds End was the same. You'll see a big difference in him on better ground. He ran well in the Cleeve on ground he didn't like, and in the Long Walk.
A Hare Breath
Ben Pauling, County Hurdle
He worked very well and has always been a very good work horse so I'd expect to see that from him. We've saved him for the day and I think he'll run a huge race. It's the first time I'll be going to any championship races in the form I had him in in the early part of the season. He was very good that day at Sandown and I still think he wants good ground. He moved very well today.
Ben Pauling, Albert Bartlett
He didn't run all that long ago but is quite a stuffy horse. He's more likely to go for the Albert Bartlett.
Ben Pauling, Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase
It's probably touch and go whether he'll get into the Close Brothers, which is what I've been aiming at, but we might have a look at the Ultima. He does stay three miles; whether he stays a bit further I don't know. He's had a good season. He tipped up at Haydock but that wasn't necessarily his fault.
Ben Pauling, Coral Cup/Pertemps Final
He'll have come on a bundle for his work. He always takes one very serious piece of work. He's in the Coral Cup and Pertemps. I wouldn't know which he'll go for; it depends how he works next week.
Three to watch . . .
If it came up soft Nestor Park will probably go for the Bumper. Delire D'Estruval looks like running in the Martin Pipe but is engaged in the Grade 2 at Kelso this weekend and if he ran there he wouldn't go to Cheltenham. Red Indian will go for the Martin Pipe or Coral Cup. He ran very well in the Lanzarote and struck me as a proper Coral Cup horse. He didn't win at Towcester but I don't think it quite worked out for him.
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