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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Tommy gunning for victory at Kempton in lead-up to Cheltenham Festival tilt

Paul Nicholls: keen to support jumpers' bumpers
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Final polish for Tommy Silver

Paul Nicholls is certainly lending his support to the jumpers’ bumpers concept as he sends a strong team to Kempton on Monday afternoon, including Cheltenham Festival hopefuls Tommy Silver and Zubayr.

The trainer said: “These races should be supported after all the bad weather we've had at a fairly crucial time in the lead-up to Cheltenham as it gives the horses who need better ground, which we certainly haven't had for most of the winter, the chance of blowing any cobwebs away."

Tommy Silver lines up for the 32Red Jumpers’ Bumper (2.30) with the aim of putting him spot-on for the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase, which brings the curtain down on the festival a week on Friday.

Nicholls said: “He wants the better conditions Kempton will provide as he simply doesn't act on a slow surface on turf. As long as he runs well, the aim will be the Cheltenham race on the final day but if it comes up soft next week he'll very likely be waiting for other targets later this spring when the ground has come right.”

Zubayr out to add to impressive course record

On his previous two visits to Kempton, Zubayr has won and finished runner-up and he bids to enhance that record when going for the 100% Profit Boost At Jumpers’ Bumper (3.30).

Nicholls said: “We want to use this race as a stepping stone to the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham, where Bryony Frost, who partners him at Kempton, will keep the ride – if he gets into the race, which is in the balance as things stand.”

He added: ”He's in really good heart and is another of mine who has been crying out for good ground. He was narrowly beaten by Alan King’s Lexington Law and that horse has franked the form by winning at Newcastle.

“The two miles at Kempton will be spot-on for him as he wants a decent gallop, which he should get as there are one or two who like to make the running, and he can pounce off the final bend."

Time for Sun to shine back in trip

Consistency was etched through Sunshineandbubbles’s three outings last month without quite getting her head in front but the Jennie Candlish-trained five-year-old has a chance to put matters right in the 1m1½f Betway Casino Handicap at Wolverhampton (7.15).

On her latest run last Wednesday, she was runner-up behind the progressive and well-handicapped Compatriot over a trip that may have proved beyond her and the drop back to this distance, over which she scored on the Tapeta surface in January, is in her favour.

Although she is 4lb higher than when beaten at the track five days ago, that can be countered by the return in the saddle of that good judge of pace, Joe Fanning.

Monday's racecards

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He wants the better conditions Kempton will provide as he simply doesn't act on a slow surface on turf
E.W. Terms
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