Willie Mullins is set to rely on Upazo in the rearranged williamhill.com Levy Board Tolworth Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday.
Ireland’s champion trainer had four to choose from at the original entry stage last week before the race was abandoned, but dual Fairyhouse winner Upazo is now his only possible for the Grade One after the 11 entries were released yesterday.
The switch from Sandown to Kempton has left connections of two of the leading British contenders with differing views. Paul Nicholls’ Irving, who is unbeaten in three tries over hurdles, was not going to run at Sandown but the transfer is expected to benefit him. Dan Downie, who represents the six-year-old’s owners, Axom, said: “Hopefully, the ground won’t be anywhere near as bad at Kempton as it was at Sandown and it is supposed to dry up towards the end of the week, too.
“We’d have no qualms about running him on soft and as an ex-Flat horse we’d expect a sharper track like Kempton to suit him better than Sandown.”
David Pipe believes that the opposite is true of his entry, Grade-One winning bumper horse The Liquidator. The Pond House handler told his website, www.davidpipe.com: “The BHA has done well to rearrange the contest for Kempton this Saturday and should be applauded for doing so, although I am not convinced that the tight nature of the new venue will suit our charge as well as Sandown.”
Nicky Henderson could saddle Royal Boy, who finished third in the race last year, and Josses Hill.
Garde La Victoire, Amore Alato, Creepy and Zamdy Man have all been entered having not featured in the original confirmations last week. Deep Trouble and Prince Siegfried complete the list of possible runners.
At Leicester yesterday, jockey Tom Scudamore described Edmund Kean as a “nice prospect” after the seven-year-old made a successful debut over fences in the Leicester Annual Members Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
Pipe’s charge put in a superb round of jumping as he disposed of the opposition in convincing manner. The 3-1 shot galloped on resolutely to defeat Whats Happening by two and a half lengths.
Scudamore said: “Because of the ground we went sensibly and he’s travelled nicely in it. I schooled him earlier in the week and I always thought whatever he did over hurdles was a bonus because he’s always jumped fences very well at home.
“He was good all the way round. He handles soft ground and he’s got a bit of class as well, so I wouldn’t be afraid of running him on better ground. He’s a nice prospect.”