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Friday, 16 November, 2018

King keen to see if Yanworth has the speed for Champion

Yanworth is currently the principal British-trained challenger for the Champion Hurdle
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2.40 Kempton
32Red Christmas Hurdle | Grade 1 | 2m | 4yo+| C4/RUK
 
Unowhatimeanharry's rise to prominence in the staying hurdle division has meant a shift of targets for Yanworth, who is the shortest-priced of today's runners for the Stan James Champion Hurdle in March.
 
The JP McManus-owned six-year-old had started the season with the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle high on his agenda, but is now the general 8-1 third favourite for the Champion.

Like many, trainer Alan King is keen to see how effective his stable star – who won the 2m3½f Coral Hurdle on his latest start – is over a shorter trip. 
 
"He's good," said King. "He schooled on Monday morning and seems in very good form. I don't think we're going to get as much rain as I'd have liked at Kempton. It doesn't seem like they're going to get much at all and I'd have like the ground softer, but we can't change that."

Barry Geraghty, who could have partnered McManus's other runner My Tent Or Yours, takes the ride.

"As far as I know Barry was always going to ride Yanworth," added King. "You'd say Kempton wouldn't be my first choice of tracks, but it fits in with everything at the moment.
 
"You have to think he'd be a better horse on a stiffer track, but we have to get a run into him. It'll be interesting."

Tent pitches up again
 
My Tent Or Yours provided Nicky Henderson with one of his six wins in this race in 2013 and conditions should suit.
 
He renews rivalry with The New One, whom he beat in this three years ago but was no match for in the International at Cheltenham last time.  
 
My Tent Or Yours: "The ground is everything to him and he's in good form," says Nicky Henderson
 
"The ground is everything to him and he's in good form and came out of Cheltenham very well, so we're giving it a go," said Henderson.
 
"It's much the same race but we're worse off at the weights. There is plenty to say we can't beat The New One, but My Tent Or Yours might have come on a bit from Cheltenham and if the rain stays away he's getting his good ground for the first time in a while.
 
"Fair play to Nigel [Twiston-Davies] and his team in getting The New One there in great shape, although I wish the weather had let them start him over fences the week before!" 
 
Twiston-Davies: We've got a hell of a shout
 
Like Yanworth, The New One had different targets at the start of the season, but novice chasing is off the agenda after he impressed in the International Hurdle this month.
 
Second in this race last year as well as in 2013, the prolific nine-year-old is unbeaten in three other visits to Kempton.

"All has been well since Cheltenham and I'm very excited," said trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies. "He was superb at Cheltenham and I was really chuffed with him.

The New One: Nigel Twiston-Davies happy to stick to two miles for now

"It was only a fortnight ago, but then My Tent Or Yours was in the same race and he had a harder race as he got beat, while will two miles be Yanworth's distance? Hopefully not."

He added: "We've got a hell of a shout. We were beaten half a length by My Tent when he was at his best round here, but The New One made a horlicks of the last, a desperate mistake that cost him the race, so I'm not worried about the track, and he's versatile with ground."

Ch'tibello's Haydock win 'no fluke'

Ch'tibello also has a knockout of My Tent Or Yours to his name, having had that rival back in third when winning the Betfair Price Rush Hurdle at Haydock last time.

That success came on heavy ground but last season's Scottish Champion Hurdle winner has shown a high level of form on a sounder surface.

"He surprised us all that he went on the ground at Haydock last time out, but I don't think it was a fluke," said trainer Dan Skelton.

"He's been in great form at home since then and definitely goes there with a chance because of the make-up of the race."

Aiming to get round

With prize-money down to fifth place, rank outsider Gray Wolf River's owner-trainer Richard Harper is hoping for a clear round from the 13-race maiden, who is officially rated 104lb inferior to The New One.

"We're taking our chance because of the lack of entries and I appreciate it won't please everyone," he said.

"She's been a bit disappointing since I bought her in the spring but she jumps well and if she can get round she'll pick up nearly £3,000."

Regarding tactics for jockey Daniel Hiskett, whom Harper will be meeting for the first time, the trainer said: "When you enter a bicycle in the Grand Prix it's probably best not to be on the front grid."

It was only a fortnight ago, but then My Tent Or Yours was in the same race and he had a harder race as he got beat, while will two miles be Yanworth's distance? Hopefully not
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