First run in 2018, the “Road To The Kentucky Derby” Conditions Stakes (1m) takes centre stage at Kempton will this evening.
A field of five will line up for the contest, worth £37,350 to the winner, including the hat-trick seeking Ayr Harbour and the Andrew Balding-trained Berlin Tango, a homebred for George Strawbridge.
Chares, who strung together three successive wins in France last season for Christophe Ferland, will make his first start for trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam, while the Robyn Brisland-trained Naval Commander is bidding to follow up his encouraging debut second at Southwell last month.
The field is completed by Aidan O’Brien’s New World Tapestry, who was last seen finishing down the field in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy staged at Newcastle in November.
All-weather action also comes from Lingfield today while there are jump cards from Clonmel and Catterick.
Honeysuckle’s Cheltenham target confirmed
Irish Champion Hurdle heroine Honeysuckle will contest the Grade 1 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next week rather than the Champion Hurdle.
Trained by Henry de Bromhead for owner Kenny Alexander, Honeysuckle is unbeaten in all seven starts under rules and will be racing in Britain for the first time, having missed Cheltenham last year due to injury.
Speaking to the Racing Post, De Bromhead said: “Honeysuckle was so impressive over two and a half miles and it’s the mares’ championship race. We think that’s the race to be in.
“We gave it a lot of thought and discussed it, and that’s what we’ve all decided. I’d imagine we’ll confirm her for the Champion at the five-day stage because we’ve come this far and we may as well leave her in and keep the option open, but we’ve called it now and the mares’ race is the plan.
“There are various things to take into account, but mainly it’s that her most impressive performances have been over two and a half miles. That’s the trip she’s got her highest rating at.”
Powerful Breeze to miss 1,000 Guineas
Hugo Palmer’s Group 2 winner Powerful Breeze will miss this year’s QIPCO 1,000 Guineas having met with a setback.
Palmer told the Racing Post: “Powerful Breeze has met with a setback and will not now be able to run in the 1,000 Guineas. It’s very disappointing for all concerned but hopefully she’ll be back in the second half of the season.”