Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dashing Dempsey Can Land a Knockout Blow; the Progressive Chaser Has What It Takes to Floor Some Leading Rivals in Tomorrow's Feature Race at Cheltenham

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dashing Dempsey Can Land a Knockout Blow; the Progressive Chaser Has What It Takes to Floor Some Leading Rivals in Tomorrow's Feature Race at Cheltenham

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM

DEMPSEY can land the knockout blow on a magnificent jumping card when he heads to Cheltenham for the Victor Chandler Chase tomorrow.

Mark Pitman's gelding shares his name with the legendary Jack " Manassa Mauler" Dempsey, who terrorised the heavyweight division in the early part of the 20th century and claimed the world title by bludgeoning the hapless Jess Willard to the canvas seven times in round one of their battle in Toledo, Ohio, in 1919.

The equine Dempsey brings a less savage approach, but his style has proved equally effective and there can be no doubt that he has plenty in his favour as regards the richest two-mile handicap chase of the season.

Firstly, he's still unexposed as a chaser, having run just eight times over fences and only once outside novice company. Secondly, after a couple of early blips he has developed into a reliable jumper with a good record over some of the most demanding fences around.

And thirdly, the eight-year-old comes into tomorrow's race on a roll after returning from a break with a much improved performance in a handicap at Sandown three weeks ago.

Andrew Tinkler was in the saddle that day and rode Dempsey with real dash against some more seasoned rivals. And Dempsey justified his rider's faith with a cracking effort, putting the entire field in trouble as he quickened rounding the final bend and stayed on strongly despite tending to idle up the hill to beat Tikram by three quarters of a length with Tysou four lengths away in third.

With [pounds sterling]110,000 on offer the list of dangers is a long one. Tikram is as good as ever and meets Dempsey on 4lb better terms here, while Tysou seldom runs a bad race and already has one decisive Cheltenham success on his record this season.

Albuhera boasts an impressive strike rate and will be well served by the drying ground, while his stablemate Armaturk has looked better than ever of late and seldom gives an inch when things get tough.

Ground Ball, Fundamentalist and Sue Smith's pair Town Crier and Mister McGoldrick add further spice to an absorbing contest, but Dempsey is still nicely handicapped. …

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