Byrnes fields three in a bid to land Grade 3 novice chase prize
Irish Stallion Farms EBF Kilbegnet Novice Chase (Grade 3) | 4yo+ | 2m | ATR
Charles Byrnes supplies three of the seven runners in this Grade 3 with Alto Esqua, a fortuitous winner at the recent Listowel festival, being joined by stablemates Rock On Fruity and Rosie Alice.
Alto Esqua was a remote second when left clear by the last-fence fall of Bamako Moriviere at Listowel and Byrnes said: "He was lucky at Listowel, but I'd expect him to come on a good bit for the run. Heavy ground won't be a problem for him.
"When we saw only a small number of entries for the race, we decided to declare three and they all seem to be in good form."
Rock On Fruity, who has recorded two victories from 16 starts over fences, won a 3m1f handicap at Kilbeggan on his most recent start, while Rosie Alice, who got off the mark over fences over 2m4f at Listowel 17 days ago, complete the Byrnes trio.
"Rock On Fruity has been running over longer distances, but the heavy ground should help him over the shorter trip and he was placed over this sort of distance early in his career over fences. Rosie Alice will need to improve," Byrnes said.
Montana Belle, successful over 2m2f on her debut over fences at Galway a week ago, represents Henry de Bromhead who said: "She seems fine since Galway and the testing ground shouldn't be a problem."
Another to score at his first attempt fences is Product Of Love, who won over 2m1f at Killarney last month.
His trainer Alan Fleming is unsure about the ground, however, and said: "The ground won't be ideal for him so we're more hopeful than confident. As it's a small field Grade 3 we're giving it a go, but he's a better horse on better ground."
Landofhopeandglory, who is one from three over fences and who fell two out at Galway early last month, represents Joseph O'Brien.
Tropics looking to turn heat up
Kempton hosts the Matchbook Casino Handicap (4.35), a 6f sprint that would not be out of place on ITV on a Saturday and features two-time July Cup runner-up Tropics.
The nine-year-old was injured after the 2015 Stewards’ Cup when fifth to Magical Memory and missed last year. So far this year trainer Dean Ivory has not found the spark that saw him finish second in successive July Cups to Muhaarar and Slade Power.
As a consequence, Tropics races off a mark of 92 having ended 2015 rated 113 but that makes him one of nine rated in the 90s including former Gimcrack winner Blaine.
Guineas flavour at Kempton
They do not come much better bred than Shurooq, who is a grey like her dam and 1,000 Guineas winner Natagora.
Hamdan Al Maktoum’s homebred filly is by Dubawi, who has an impressive record with his all-weather runners, who strike at a rate of 39 per cent for their 130 winners. Dubawis who run from seven furlongs to nine furlongs have won over 50 per cent of their races with 251 winners from 498 runners.
No wonder Jim Crowley is on the Owen Burrows-trained filly ahead of his retainer’s other two runners in the first division of the fillies’ novice stakes (3.30), although a note of caution as the owner’s subsequent 1,000 Guineas winner Ghanaati was beaten in this race before coming back to win her maiden.
Jumping to it
There is a jumping flavour to the Flat card at Leicester with Fergal O’Brien seeking a second victory for The Groove in the apprentice handicap (5.45), but Harry Fry is looking for his first Flat success to go with over 200 jump winners in six years of training.
Golden Birthday is only his second runner on the Flat and brings four hurdle and one bumper win in 13 runs to the table in the 1m4f Breeders Backing Racing EBF Maiden Stakes (4.15).