Kempton briefing: Thriller in prospect as pecking order is decided.
Valley Henry is unbeaten from two outings over fences and accounted for Frosty Canyon by four lengths in a Grade 2 novice chase at Newbury last time. Top-class hurdler Katarino made an impressive British chasing debut at Newbury at the start of the month, accounting for Mr Cool by 13 lengths, with the Doumen-trained Innox, who reopposes, a further three lengths back in third.
Man On The Hill, revitalised by a move from Martin Pipe to Ferdy Murphy, put together a sequence of four novice chase wins before unseating JP McNamara at the start at Towcester last time. Maximize bounced back from an odds-on defeat at Uttoxeter with a seven-length defeat of Frosty Canyon over this course and distance last month.
David Elsworth, trainer of High Cotton
"His chances seem to have been totally disregarded, but he has run very sound races in the best company. He continues to thrive and improve. Katarino is the one to beat but High Cotton is in that league and we don't think he is a forlorn hope."
Nicky Henderson, trainer of Katarino
"I was absolutely thrilled with him at Newbury and he is in wonderful form. He and Valley Henry now have to decide who is top of the pecking order."
Ferdy Murphy, trainer of Man On The Hill
"It was a little bit of a blot on his copybook last time but I don't think it was the horse's fault. He couldn't have won any easier at Haydock-we were putting the gun to his head and he answered the questions with flying colours."
Henrietta Knight, trainer of Maximize
"He has beaten a couple of these before and he acts at Kempton. I wouldn't know about him having the class of Katarino but his game is jumping."
Gary Moore, trainer of Quakers Field
"The form of the Huntingdon race hasn't worked out very well, but it was his first run for nearly two years and he couldn't have done it any better. Whether he is good enough to beat Valley Henry and Katarino I don't know, but he is in fantastic form."
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Valley Henry
"This has been the target since he won at Chepstow and Newbury. Kempton should suit and he'll get the trip. He is potentially one of the best we've got, but it's difficult to say just how good he is. We always thought that anything he did over hurdles was a bonus, but it looks a tough race."
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Dec 26, 2001|
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