Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kempton Race Made for Place King Alan; King George VI on Agenda for King Alan Put Kettle on Tea for Two

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kempton Race Made for Place King Alan; King George VI on Agenda for King Alan Put Kettle on Tea for Two

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY OWEN i.taylor@dailyrecord.co.uk

AFTER Smad Place jumped his rivals into the ground in the Hennessy, several pundits reckoned he looked a different horse using the forcing tactics employed by his shrewd jockey Wayne Hutchinson.

It was amusing to see trainer Alan King's reaction as Hutch piled it on from the front and he admitted after the race: "I'm not sure those were the tactics we discussed!" A ballsy ride indeed Wayne and expect more of the same round Kempton this afternoon. The TURN TO PAGE TWO FROM PAGE ONE striking grey is still rated seven pounds below Gordon Elliott's Don Cossack and has been written off by some, never having won a Grade 1 in his career in 10 attempts.

A breathing op down the line may have helped matters, but it could be he's just a late developing horse and if that's the case, he's decent value at around 8-1. SMAD PLACE (3.10) jumped slightly to his right on occasions at Newbury, but I don't see that being an issue going round Kempton.

He showed plenty of pace to thrash Fingal Bay over 2m4f here in November and its clear he has stamina by the barra load.

A confident King said: "He comes here at the top of his game, having pleased Wayne over six fences on Monday, following a very encouraging workout 48 hours earlier.

"Coming to Kempton rather than waiting for the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham next month makes sense as if we do decide to aim for the Gold Cup it gives us that bit extra time to get him ready.

"He went up 13lb for winning the Hennessy, so, while he's stepping up another notch on the ladder, he came out of Newbury so well and his new rating suggests he would not have to progress much more to be right there in the mix with the big boys. He's in great shape and we are hoping for the best."

BEKKENSFIRTH (1.25) had a couple of promising runs over hurdles before flopping on his handicap debut at Ascot in late October.

Dan Skelton wasted no time sending the big Flemensfirth gelding over fences and he bolted up at Leicester earlier this month. …

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