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Huge weekend for racehorse owner Jeremy Kyle

Article 22nd February 2019

By Graham Dench

It’s a massive weekend in rugby’s Six Nations Championship, and it’s also a big, big two days for racing nut Jeremy Kyle.

The daytime TV presenter has favourite Glen Rocco in the £100,000 888Sport Handicap Chase at Kempton Park on Saturday and then the ever popular Old Guard bidding to repeat last year’s win in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell on Sunday.

The schedule for filming The Jeremy Kyle Show is pretty relentless, on top of which he has The Kyle Files and a regular spot on talkRADIO to fit in. But the celebrity always makes time for racing and this weekend will be no different.

He plans to be at both meetings with his fiancé, Vicky Burton, plus his partners in Glen Rocco, Dave Stevens, of Coral, and Ged Mason, who is also involved in Clan Des Obeaux, as well as his partners in Old Guard, the Brooks and Stewart families.

Excitement has been building in the camp for a few weeks now and Stevens, who is already booked to be best man at Kyle’s wedding next year, explained why. He said: “Glen Rocco’s form from Boxing Day is looking better and better and he couldn’t have won any easier over the course and distance last time. He gets in off a light weight and we hope there’s still improvement to come.

“It’s exciting, and it’s for days like this - having the favourite in the big Saturday handicap -  that Jez got into racehorse ownership.”

If all goes well here Glen Rocco has entries in two handicaps at The Festival™, presented by Magners, and Kyle, who also has a share in last season’s prolific novice chase winner Black Corton, is already thinking even further ahead.

Next year’s Randox Health Grand National is the long-term dream.

NO PERCY BUT TIME TO LOVE ANGELS INSTEAD

Still looking for clues for next month’s Cheltenham Festival? Kempton Park promises to throw up some late pointers and you don’t even have to miss a minute of the rugby either.

The 888Sport Chase is one of seven races being shown live on ITV4, fitting neatly between the final whistle at the Stade De France and kick-off at the Millennium Stadium.

With Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy now missing Fairyhouse this weekend and heading straight to Cheltenham you could be forgiven for thinking most of The Festival’s big players are also being rested.

So it will interesting to see how Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favourite Angels Breath fairs in the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle. He made a huge impression at Ascot in December on his debut for Nicky Henderson and shows so much on the gallops that he has the Seven Barrows team dreaming he might be the next Altior, with whom Henderson won the Supreme three years ago.

However, Henderson has been trying to get more experience into Angels Breath for weeks, as he only jumped four hurdles at Ascot, and he has acknowledged that this red-hot Grade 2 was not his first choice.

With classy Flat handicapper Scarlet Dragon heading eight above-average rivals this will be no walkover. But there will be some long faces if he is beaten.

HENDERSON SEEKS A BIGGER PRIZE FROM RAFFLES

This Kempton fixture has long been recognised as the last realistic opportunity for horses heading to The Festival to stake their claims, and another in the last chance saloon is Henderson’s JCB Triumph Hurdle entry Fusil Raffles, who is in the 888Sport Adonis Hurdle.

Henderson has looked unusually weak in the juvenile hurdle department but it’s not too late. Back in 2010 his Soldatino made an impressive first appearance in the UK in this same race, and less than three weeks later he followed up by winning the Triumph.

Just like Fusil Raffles, Soldatino was already a hurdles winner in France, and just like Fusil Raffles, he carried the two-tone green silks of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.

Interesting.

DAKLONDIKE COULD OFFER GRAND NATIONAL CLUE

It’s not just pre-Festival clues on offer this weekend. Randox Health Grand National outsider Daklondike heads the weights in Newcastle’s Vertem Eider Chase, which will be run on much quicker ground than usual but has still attracted a cracking field of 16.

Daklondike’s rivals in the four-miler include last year’s winner Baywing, who would prefer it much more testing, dual Scottish National winner Vicente, and Welsh National winner Raz De Maree.

Denman’s one-time jockey Christian Williams has the back-to-form and well fancied Potters Corner carriying a much lighter weight, but this is a handicap in which few can be ruled out.

FLAT PACK ARE BACK AS FRANKIE GOES TO … LINGFIELD

It’s not all about the Jumps. Action on the Flat steps up a gear when Frankie Dettori and John Gosden team up with long-odds-on Wissahickon in the Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield. 

The winner of the bet365 Cambridgeshire at Newmarket in September, Wissahickon looked all class again when overcoming traffic problems in the Trial three weeks ago. Now he is widely expected to develop into a force to be reckoned with in top turf races like the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park this summer.

He should have no trouble confirming the placings with the trio who chased him home last time and, although last year’s winner Master The World represents a fresh challenge, few doubt that he will be up to it.

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