It was a quiet Tuesday on the track, but far from it off the track… Lingfield held a decent jumps card and there was astro turf action at Wolverhampton and Southwell. The ground was testing at Lingfield, but made for some worthy racing and threw up a potentially handy horse in the opener. More on that to come.
The huge news broke in the early afternoon and took a while for everyone to really work out what this meant. At first, many believed only the AW track was set for closure and that it wasn’t such a big deal; but when the reality sunk in that one of the most prestigious and popular tracks in National Hunt was to be demolished the outrage begun. Trainers mainly voiced their concerns that HQ is already served by Chelmsford and many Lambourn trainers have now lost their local all-weather. Fans were angered that such a historic track can simply be taken away without much in the way of notice or discussion beforehand. It is far from a forgone conclusion that we will lose Kempton and lots of obstacles still stand in the way, including those appalled. But, it is still a major concern that the Jockey Club are pushing full steam ahead for this closure. Nicky Henderson put it perfectly when saying jumps racing can ‘ill afford to lose a track like Kempton’, going as far as saying it could be a nail in the coffin for the sport. The flat track around Kempton is crucial to a number of top races, especially when compared with Sandown which is set to take over races such as the King George. The money on offer is undoubtedly a lot, but the course is making a profit anyhow and can they really justify it for any other reason than for financial benefit?
Run of the Day: Lingfield
1 00 MISSED APPROACH (W Greatrex) 13/8, C4 Novice Chase, 2M7.5F, Heavy
After a steady start to the campaign, Warren Greatrex’s yard has hit a remarkable run of form in the last week, and he notched a quickfire double in the opening two races. Missed Approach was a mightily impressive winner of the novice chase as he blew away two good horses, Label des Obeaux and Casse Tete, without being tested. He took the race up and galloped the others into submission one by one. The 7YO looks a strong stayer heading forwards for the remainder of this season, but even more so for next autumn. The Hennessy and perhaps the Welsh National look realistic targets with some more experience in bigger fields. Since his very modest run at Exeter in November he has had a wind operation and it seems to have worked wonders. He jumped very well for only his second outing and the ground was no issue whatsoever. Greatrex was thrilled that he’d bounced back to true form but played down any bigger aspirations for now.