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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Gronkowski bids to enter Kentucky reckoning in rescheduled Kempton feature

Gronkowski (Jamie Spencer) wins easily at Newcastle last month
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Named after a top NFL player, Gronkowski could well be touching down in the US himself if he maintains his unbeaten record on the all-weather in the rescheduled 'Road To The Kentucky Derby' Conditions Stakes (7.10) at Kempton this evening.

Like his namesake, New England Patriots tight end Rob, the Jeremy Noseda-trained son of Lonhro is built to break a tackle or two and has run out a ready winner of both starts this winter most recently when defying a 5lb penalty in a novice event at Newcastle last month.

Although this will be a stiffer test against six highly regarded rivals including the 100-rated Fortune's Pearl, Gronkowski has both fitness and previous all-weather experience on his side in the mile contest.

Kerri Radcliffe, Phoenix Thoroughbreds racing manager and bloodstock agent for the northern hemisphere, said: "Gronkowski won well under a penalty last time and this is another step up. We've always thought a lot of him and he just keeps improving. If he wins well we are considering going Stateside with him."

Corals have handed Gronkowski an opening quote of 40-1 for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5.

On Fortune's Pearl, trainer Andrew Balding said: "He was in the race when it was abandoned last week and this looks a good starting point. He'll come on for the run I would expect and the plan is to take him to Newcastle for the valuable trial at Newcastle on Good Friday."

William Haggas, who won the Listed Spring Cup at Lingfield at the weekend with Headway, relies on Three Weeks who is another on a hat-trick mission following successive victories at Lingfield and Newcastle.

The grey was out on Warren Hill in Newmarket at second lot on Tuesday after which his trainer said: "Three Weeks did it well under a penalty at Newcastle but the form isn't really working out. He's by an all-weather stallion in Tapit so these are the sort of races he should be looking at but he seems to have a bit to find on the book."

John Gosden fields yet another Newmarket candidate on a three-timer in the shape of Newcastle and Lingfield winner Court House. He said of the son of Dawn Approach: "He won a handicap in good style at Lingfield but may be a bit outclassed this time. However, it's a £50,000 race and it makes sense to have a crack at it."

Ventura Knight, who disappointed in three outings on the all-weather last year but signed off with a win in a nursery at Doncaster, makes up the field along with outsiders Bobby Biscuit and Ambient.

Moore to hit the target on Archer?

Ryan Moore rides the progressive Star Archer for the first time in the opening 32Red Handicap (5.40) at Kempton where the decision to miss the Winter Derby with the two-time Wolverhampton winner could pay dividends.

Star Archer: unbeaten on the all-weather
The fitting of a hood and going around tight bends has paid off in spades for Hugo Palmer's classy type who is up 6lb for his recent demolition of Mount Tahan at Dunstall Park last month.

It will not have gone unnoticed at Newmarket's Kremlin Cottage Stables that the runner-up obliged back at Wolverhampton last Monday night and Star Archer looks tailor-made for this 1m2f test before taking a step up in class.

Palmer said: "Ryan Moore takes the ride on Star Archer who we are hoping is as potent going right-handed as he is going left. He seems in good shape and this is another step up the ladder."

Another gamble to pay off for Watson?

De Medici certainly knew his job first time at Lingfield when he landed a rare gamble first time out and is back at the Surrey circuit for a follow up bid under a penalty in the 32Red Casino Novice Stakes (3.30).

Archie Watson's chestnut was backed from 5-1 in the morning into 9-4 at the off before coming from off the pace to master the more streetwise Completion over a mile.

The son of Makfi has a 5lb penalty for his efforts but the step up to 1m2f looks sure to reap further improvement.


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We've always thought a lot of him and he just keeps improving. If he wins well we are considering going Stateside with him
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