Theatre Guide to take centre stage, while King duo seek Winter Escape
David Metcalf | February 26, 2016
There’s a couple of cracking Alan King contenders to keep an eye on at Kempton this Saturday, as the Cheltenham Festival draws ever closer, but Colin Tizzard gelding Thetare Guide is getting much fanfare ahead of the feature race on a cracking card at this Surrey venue.
No waiting in the wings for Theatre Guide
Tizzard’s nine-year-old looks well-treated on the pick of his form, so is decent value to land the Betbright Chase (15:35).
Theatre Guide ran a blinder when winning the 2013 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury to finish a keeping on 4 1/2 length third of 21 to Trio D’alene off a mark of 145, and backed that up with a solid second at Cheltenham off 147.
He then went on to score in his sole start in 2014 when dead-heating at Kempton off off 149 and, after a spell in the doldrums, bounced back to form on his second start this season when an excellent second of 15 to Smad Place in the Hennessy off 139.
Although not match for the easy 12 length winner, Theatre Guide stayed on strongly from off the pace after making a couple of costly errors and stuck nicely to the task.
That form reads extremely well in the context of this contest, and the son of King’s Theatre is able to race in it off the same mark.
It gives Theatre Guide every chance from a handicapping perspective, and although well beaten last time out when third to Smad Place at Cheltenham that was a Grade 2 contest, so the return to handicap company is sure to see this horse in a far better light.
Gibralfaro and Winter Escape can enhance Festival claims
Elsewhere on the card, there are two Grade 2 hurdle contests featuring a couple of very exciting prospects from King’s yard.
Gibralfaro has won both his starts in impressive fashion and can enhance his Triumph Hurdle prospects by completing the hat-trick in the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (14:00) which opens proceedings.
The ex-French trained gelding looked a smart recruit when scoring over course and distance on hiss debut for handler King, and confirmed that view when readily beating Connetable at Ascot last month.
Connetable has since gone on to land a Grade 2 contest at Sandown from the very useful Rayvin Black, and that gives the form a strong look.
Gibralfaro is currently 8/1 joint second-favourite with Coral for the Triumph at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday, March 18th, so he is expected to come through this test with flying colours.
King also trains Winter Escape, who puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (15:05).
The JP McManus owned gelding has barely had to break sweat in winning twice at Doncaster, so can bet the better of Welsh Shadow to land the spoils en route to a possible crack at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Winter Escape is currently a 16/1 shot to take the opening race of next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
14.35: The Saint James
15.05: Winter Escape (NB)
15.35: Theatre Guide (NAP)
16.10: Clean Sheet
17.20: Criq Rock
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