Horses To Follow » Kempes


Kempes ran a nice race to finish third behind his stable companion Golden Silver in the Hilly Way Chase run over an inadequate two miles at Fairyhouse on Wednesday. This was the Willie Mullins-trained gelding’s first run since he won the Grade 1 Champion Novice Chase over three miles at the Punchestown Festival last April, and it was full of promise. He jumped well throughout and, although he was tapped for toe when they quickened up off the home turn, he stayed on really nicely from the second last under just a hands-and-heels ride from David Casey to finish third, just a half a length behind the runner-up Zaarito, a place that he would probably have occupied even if Let Yourself Go had not unshipped his rider at the last.

This was an ideal start to the season by Kempes. Winner of the Ulster Derby when trained by Frances Crowley, he was a talented novice hurdler two seasons ago, winning a Grade 2 contest and finishing second to Hurricane Fly in the Champion Novice Hurdle at the 2009 Punchestown Festival. It looked for a while as if he was going to be an under-performer last year as a novice chaser, but he improved markedly when stepped up in trip to two and a half miles to land the Nas Na Riogh Chase at Thurles (strangely) in February, and he improved again when stepped up to three miles to land the Champion Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival, when he has China Rock and The Midnight Club behind in second and third. It would be surprising if Mullins did not have some of the top three-mile chases in mind for him now. His best runs have been on good ground, but he does have form on soft ground. He is in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, and he will be of interest if he takes his chance in that, especially if it doesn’t come up too soft.

15th December 2010

© The Irish Field, 18th December 2010