Alan King has won the last two renewals of the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton and the Barbury Castle handler is two-handed in his attempt to land the hat-trick.
King has scored recently via Master Blueyes and Redicean, taking his tally in this Grade 2 event to four. Victory on Saturday would see him overtaking Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson as the winning-most trainer in this race.
The betting suggests that the filly Giving Glances is his leading hope. She’ll be partnered by Tom Cannon, who was on board for a Listed Doncaster win last time out. That leaves stable jockey Wayne Hutchinson on board Praeceps.
He scored on his second attempt over timber at Market Rasen recently and the ex-Flat performer looks to have scope for much better. This is clearly a step up, but he’s going the right way and given his trainer’s record, and his price, the four-year-old is worth giving a chance to.
Harry Whittington’s runner is reverting back to hurdles for the opener at Chepstow having run well this term over fences without winning. He’s had three attempts over fences and finished second at Newcastle in December on the most recent of those. Back over hurdles, he is rated only 2lb higher than when winning at Warwick last year (2m, soft) and looks to have strong claims in this line-up.
Melchior King and Choix Des Armes are potential dangers, though those two are graduating into deeper water here, while top-weight Totterdown appears to have been grounded by the handicapper for now, leaving the path clear for The Dubai Way to make his mark back over timber.
Later on the card at the Welsh track a chance is handed to Sandymount. Trainer Tom George has hit something of a purple patch, with a 33 per cent strike rate from 15 runners over the last fortnight.
A gelding by Yeats, Sandymount scored at Market Rasen back in the summer of 2017 over two-and-a-half-miles but made just two more appearances before he sat on the sidelines for 557 days, reappearing only last month a Wincanton.
He predictably curled up late on in that run, but could still have plenty more to offer. He’s eight years old but has not got many miles on the clock and he turns up here rated 5lb lower than when finishing a close second at Market Rasen back in 2017, in what remains his only try over this sort of staying trip.
He’s got something to prove, for sure, but his current handicap mark allows him every chance of doing that, should he show his well-being.
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