Racing fans will be crossing all parts of their bodies that Saturday’s rescheduled Welsh Grand National (run in memory of Kim Gingell) (3.10pm) at Chepstow gets the green light after the previous day’s inspection at 2.30pm as it is one of the most eagerly-anticipated staying chases of the season.
Despite the different date ante post bets stand which is good news for some supporters of selection Springfield Fox (7/1) who availed themselves of the peak 20-1 before he plummeted in price to his current 7-1.
Slad sorcerer Tom George’s contender was given a pipe opener in a novice hurdle at the same track last month, presumably to avoid ruining his handicap mark over the bigger obstacles, and he was far from disgraced being beaten five and a half lengths over an inadequate trip.
Before that hopes were high of a dream Cheltenham Festival victory in the National Hunt Chase in March, when he was sent off third-favourite for the long-distance novices’ chase, but aspirations were dashed when trainer’s son Noel George was unshipped from his partner at the 16 th obstacle.
That reversal prevented the completion of a hat-trick after victories here and at Exeter and the brilliant jumping which he exhibited at the Welsh venue when landing a novices’ handicap chase last January mean he’s been in many people’s notebooks for quite a while.
Luckily no anticipated weather problems at Kempton, also on ITV4, and the feature Lanzarote Hurdle (3.30pm) can go the way of Glynn (8/1) , who is tutored by Nicky Henderson who has won two of the last three renewals and enjoys a total of four victories in this heat.
The fancy also finished second on his last start (he actually crossed the line in third but first past the post Eaton Hill was disqualified), but that was a fair effort despite being a beaten ‘jolly’ given he hadn’t been seen for 322 days during which time he underwent wind surgery.
He was sent off favourite that day after shaping with a great deal of promise on his UK debut at Doncaster a year ago when comfortably scoring by 11 lengths in a maiden hurdle.
His future probably lies over fences as he easily landed a point-to-point on his only other public appearance in rural Ireland before that, but he can take this notable prize over timber first.
Kempton also features two Grade 2 events including the Relkeel Hurdle (2.20pm) which can see Younevercall (7/2) cement his credentials for the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Kim Bailey’s charge may have only finished fourth last time, but that performance was a lot better than it looks on paper as the first two home, Paisley Park and Thyme Hill, currently dominate the staying hurdling division, while third-placed Roksana is no back number having won at this level by a comfortable eight and a half lengths in October.
Bailey can complete a double courtesy of Cheltenham Festival scorer Imperial Aura (10/11) In the Silviniaco Conti Chase (2.55pm) on the same card.