Having run four times in bumpers, the Richard Spencer-trained, Rebel Racing-owned Handsome Samson makes his debut on the all-weather at Kempton today.
The five-year-old son of Nathaniel is a half-brother to Phil Cunningham’s Cockney Rebel, whose biggest successes came in the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas in 2007.
Handsome Samson contests the 1m3f novice stakes and will line up against the John Gosden-trained Merry Vale, who is looking to improve on her third-placed effort behind Dubious Affair in December.
Southwell race on the all-weather today while Hereford will stage an 8am inspection to see if its jumps meeting can go ahead.
Altior and Defi set to clash
The clash racing fans have been waiting for was confirmed on Tuesday when trainer Philip Hobbs revealed Defi Du Seuil would take on Altior in next month’s Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Defi Du Seuil, who has already claimed both the Tingle Creek and Clarence House Chase this season, was taken out of the Ryanair Chase by connections.
Hobbs told the Racing Post: “He’s been competing at two miles all season and he’s won all of his races, so it makes sense to run him in the Champion Chase, although I’m sure he’d stay further no problem.
“He’s won at Cheltenham over two and a half so stamina wouldn’t be a problem. It’s all gone extremely well this season.
“Has it surpassed our expectations? I suppose we were hopeful he’d do what he’s done, so it’s all worked out as well as we could have expected.”
Kelso lose Thursday’s Morebattle Hurdle card
The weekend’s bad weather from Storm Ciara has forced Kelso to cancel its card on Thursday, which was set to feature the Morebattle Hurdle.
After 42mm of rain since Saturday night, the course has been left waterlogged. It is unlikely that the meeting will be rescheduled.
Anthea Morshead, Clerk of the Course, told the Racing Post: “We’ve had frequent heavy wet snow showers on and off all day and it’s set to persist up to midnight.
“It’s forecast to be very cold on Wednesday and very wet on Thursday, so we needed improvement to be racing and given the forecast we have no chance.