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Weekend Horseracing Review: Top Notch Cut For Ryanair Following Kempton Win

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The Nicky Henderson-trained Top Notch returned to his very best in Kempton’s 32Red Casino Chase on Saturday afternoon, just a few weeks after, according to his trainer, “ he was very sick before Christmas after a reaction to a ( flu ) vaccination – he was just lifeless.” Lifeless the eight-year-old certainly wasn’t in the two mile four and a half furlong Listed race as the mount of Daryl Jacob surged past market rival Charbal two out before coming home by a comfortable five lengths from the staying-on Black Corton. The son of Poliglote is now as short as 8-1 for the Ryanair Chase at the festival but can still be backed at a standout 14-1 with Ladbrokes.

SHARJAH - 10-1 ( each-way ) with Betfair 10/1 Betfair


The big betting race at Kempton went to the Jennie Candlish-trained Big Time Dancer and up and coming 5lb claimer Jonjo O’Neill jnr, the 16-1 chance just outrunning Solomon Grey by a length and a half in the Unibet Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle. The young rider has big shoes to fill with Jonjo snr the only jockey in history to have ridden the same horse ( Dawn Run ) to victory in the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup.

Alan O’Keeffe, partner of the Staffordshire-based trainer, predicts a big future for the 20-year-old rider, saying: “ This lad is going places, he’s got a great brain, good hands and doesn’t panic.” The key to the winner appears to be the decent ground which prevailed at Kempton with the target being a big handicap at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in April.


Top Irish amateur Derek O’Connor made the journey to Warwick to partner his likely mount in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham festival and the pair left the track a top price 4-1 favourite for the four mile stamina test at Prestbury Park on Tuesday 12th March. Despite just a field of four for the 3m chase this was a proper test for the Mahler gelding with Rocky’s Treasure, Secret Investor and White Moon all boasting strong claims. As it turned out the lightly-raced nine-year-old showed far too much finishing pace for his rivals and it will take a good horse to lower his colours in two months time.

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