The Liquidator wound up for success
Jack Nicol provides a horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's rearranged Williamhill.com Levy Board Tolworth Hurdle at Kempton.
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Garde La Victoire (14/1 for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices')
Garde La Victoire steps up into graded company for the first time here and deserves a crack at this level having pushed Ballyalton all the way to the line in a useful novice event at Cheltenham last month. Philip Hobbs' charge looks made for chasing in the long-term but certainly commands respects in this field and his Sky Bet Supreme Novices' aspirations will likely hang on his showing here.
Josses Hill (33/1 for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices')
The lightly-raced Josses Hill is one of two runners for trainer Nicky Henderson and while the six-year-old has only raced once over hurdles, he must be respected if his trainer believes the Winged Love gelding is good enough to be thrown in on only his second start over timber. Henderson was quick to point out that the horse is still a baby following his debut success last month and is another who will improve for a fence in time.
Prince Siegfried (33/1 for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices')
Prince Siegfried took a crashing fall when upsides Irving at the last hurdle at Ascot last time out, but trainer John Ferguson has reported that the eight-year-old has come out of the race well and is hopeful of a good run. The Royal Appluase gelding bombed out on hurdle debut at Fakenham before just getting up to win at Huntingdon next time out, although his performance at Ascot would indicate that he is still improving.
Nicky Henderson's second runner is the useful Royal Boy and he bounced back to form when switched back to the smaller obstacles having disappointed on chasing bow at this course in November. Barry Geraghty couldn't explain why the winning pointer had disappointed on his first start over fences, but said he wasn't surprised by his ready success when winning nicely at Ascot last time out.
The Liquidator (12/1 for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices')
The Liquidator puts his Sky Bet Supreme Novices' credentials on the line here in what looks to be his sternest hurdling test to date. The going will be not be an issue as he's won on both soft and heavy ground in the past, however, David Pipe did raise concerns earlier in the week about the tight nature of Kempton's track, feeling that it wouldn't suit his charge quite as much as Sandown would have done.
Willie Mullins brings experienced novice Upazo over the Irish Sea for this contest and his charge is clearly the most intriguing runner in the field. He proved hard to win with last term having failed to get his head in front on his four starts but wasted no time this season when easily winning a 25-runner maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse on seasonal reappearance back in November. The six-year-old followed that up with another fluent success when comfortably taking a two mile contest at the same course.
THE LIQUIDATOR can establish himself as leading player for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle with victory in the rearranged Tolworth Hurdle here.
It has been well documented that David Pipe's believes his charge would have been more suited by Sandown's galloping track as opposed to the tighter nature of Kempton, but he has also reported the six-year-old to be fit and well ahead of this outing.
The Overbury gelding is the class horse in the race and can continue his unbeaten run over hurdles and add another Grade One success to his CV in the process.
Upazo is a bit of an unknown quantity in the field following his two successes in minor contests at Fairyhouse so far this season. He has been given an official mark of 144 on the back of those victories and must be respected for a trainer who is keeping to his word having promised to send a few runners over to the UK this season.
Nicky Henderson is double-handed in the race with Royal Boy and the lightly-raced Josses Hill, but a bigger danger to the principles could be the Philip Hobbs-trained Garde La Victoire, who still looks an exciting prospect even with his unbeaten record having come to an end last time out.