Past Winners » Ar Mad


This is a hot race.  Vaniteux brings the best hurdling form into the race, and he jumped well in winning his beginners’ chase over this course and distance last month, but I don’t think that he should be as far in front of Ar Mad in the betting as he is.

I am backing Ar Mad at 3/1.  His last two runs have been fairly remarkable.  He led all the way to win a three-horse race, his beginners’ chase, at Sandown in early November when allowed go off at 16/1 and then, in the Henry VIII Chase last time, when he was again allowed go off at a big price, he did exactly the same thing.

He didn’t get credit for his beginners’ chase win, neither of his two rivals jumped very well, and it looks like he has not got full credit for his Henry VIII Chase win either.  But he appears to be a different horse now since switched to fences and since he has been allowed bowl along in front.  His fluent jumping is a serious asset in that instance.  Also, he excels on a right-handed track.

Both his big runs have been at Sandown, and he is away from Sandown now, but Kempton is as close as you can get to Sandown without actually being at Sandown in terms of configuration (as well as in terms of geography), in that it is a flat right-handed track that suits good jumpers and front-runners well.

Vaniteux is obviously a big danger, he is rated 26lb superior to Ar Mad over hurdles, but Ar Mad is actually rated 5lb higher over fences at this stage.

It is a pity that Arzal is in the race.  I had him down as a horse to follow as a hurdler last season, and again after he won over fences at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting this season, clocking a really fast time.  However, I just think that, at this stage of the season at Kempton, Ar Mad is the better bet, even at a shorter price.  Hopefully Gavin Sheehan and Joshua Moore don’t get into an early battle for the lead.  If Arzal leads Ar Mad, through the early stages of the race, he is going too fast.

AR MAD WON (ADV 3/1, SP 5/2)