Top Notch claims Kempton win and is set for the Ryanair

Nicky Henderson pointed towards a return to the highest level for Top Notch after he opened his account for the season in the 32Red Casino Chase at Kempton.

After suffering a bad reaction to a flu jab, the popular eight-year-old only made his seasonal return last month when finishing third in the JLT Hurdle at Ascot.

Switched back to fences the Simon Munir- and Isaac Soude-owned gelding took a decisive step forward from his comeback as he found plenty to take the Listed prize by five lengths from the running-on Black Corton.

Henderson said of the 6/4 favourite: "He is very special. Simon and Isaac haven't had the greatest run recently, but when you've got a horse like this you always know he will get you out of trouble.

"He was very sick before Christmas, only because he reacted to a flu vaccination. Ascot brought him on nicely, and there we go.

"Knowing how much pace there was here, two and a half miles around Kempton - I could easily see his little feet scampering along. They turned into the back straight, picked up the bridle and always had them covered off a right good pace.

"He hasn't got the scope of other horses and he has his own way of doing it, but he is brave as well. He has been a wonderful servant.

"If you had a straw poll in the yard he would come out number one. Everyone loves him. I know there is Altior, Might Bite and Buveur D'Air, who might be better horses, but there is not a nicer horse in the place."

Looking to future plans, Henderson said: "We were thinking Ascot Chase, then the Ryanair. That is the obvious road."

Bryony Frost, rider of Black Corton, felt the Paul Nicholls-trained eight-year-old was firmly back on track after leaving his disappointing effort in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury behind.

She said: "I'm chuffed to bits. Like I said the other day, we were coming here as a confidence booster after the Ladbrokes Trophy and that is exactly what he has done.

"The trip pushed his gears the whole way, but what I loved to see was that he jumped under pressure. He travelled and stayed on all the way for me."

Glen eases to impressive victory

Kempton winner Glen Rocco could one day be a Grand National contender for part-owner and television celebrity Jeremy Kyle.

The Nick Gifford-trained eight-year-old was the 11/4 favourite for the Unibet Handicap Chase and could hardly have been more impressive, scoring by 23 lengths in the hands of James Davies.

Glen Rocco is set to be given a sighter of the famous Aintree birch before the end of the season - with connections dreaming he can one day compete in the world's most famous steeplechase.

Kyle, who owns the horse with Coral PR man David Stevens and Ged Mason, said: "His jumping was great and he didn't put a foot wrong today. The first thing James Davies said when he got off was that he will go three and a half or four miles.

"The dream is the Grand National."

Gifford said: "The extra half-mile has helped him. We will not get carried away, as he has only won off 10st 2lb, but the way he travelled through the race was better over the three miles.

"The Topham is the aim and then the Grand National hopefully the year after. I said to Jeremy that one more win should get him in (the Topham) so it is job done now and we will work back from that."


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