Past Winners » Cross Kennon


Cross Kennon is worth backing here at 6/1. Jennie Candlish’s gelding has been a really progressive handicap hurdler since last spring, winning four on the bounce, rising from a rating of 72 to a rating of 132, and then running a cracker in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival off that mark to finish fourth behind Buena Vista. That was an unusual Pertemps in that not many got into the race from behind, so Cross Kennon probably ran a lot better than the form of the race suggests given that he was well back in the early stages. The first six finished clear of the remainder and he was the only one of those six who didn’t race up with the pace.

He was well beaten at Aintree on his final run last season, but you can easily forgive him that, coming, as it did, at the end of a long campaign. You can also forgive him his seasonal debut, also at Aintree three weeks ago. It was disappointing, he was never really travelling through the race, but it was his first run since April, and a sharp track like Aintree doesn’t play to his galloping style.

There is a chance that he will not bounce back from that, there is a chance that the tough tasks that he endured last season will take their toll this season, and he is sure to hit a flat spot at least at some point during today’s race, he is sure to come under a ride. However, there is also a chance that he is ready now to resume the progression that took him into last year’s Pertemps. He should be happier back at Cheltenham, where he put up his career-best in the Pertemps (the second best run of his career was probably his previous run at Chepstow, which makes sense given his racing style). He has slipped back down to a mark of 130, 2lb lower than the mark off which he raced in the Pertemps, the overnight rain will have helped, his trainer’s horses are in good form, and he is worth backing at 6/1.