By Simon Jackson at Kempton Park.
Carole’s Spirit has been given a quote of 7-1 (Paddy Power) for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham after an eight-length victory in the Listed feature race at Kempton on Monday.
The six-year-old barely saw another rival as jockey Daryl Jacob opted to make the pace after the field of six had walked for more than 10 seconds after the starter had raised the flag.
Jacob and Carole’s Spirit were soon 15 lengths clear and the Robert Walford-trained mare jumped confidently throughout, despite a tendency bear right at some fences.
The pair still had a healthy lead turning into the straight and pushed on to win easily.
The victory further highlighted the mare’s liking for racing best when fresh, which her trainer believes is the key to her success.
“The best ride won the race and she stayed very well – I’d take that anytime,” said Walford who revealed that Carole’s Spirit will race a maximum of three times this season.
“I think that we will run her in the mares’ race at Ascot in January. She has always been good fresh. Every year [for her last three campaigns] she has won at her first run out so we will give her a bit of time and have her fresh for each run.
“The maybe on to Cheltenham for the mares’ race [OLBG Mares’ Hurdle].”
In other news, Paul Nicholls has confirmed that the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day is the immediate target for both Silviniaco Conti and Al Ferof after their respective victories in the Betfair Chase and Amlin 365 Chase on Saturday.
“I decided to run Silviniaco Conti in cheek pieces after he worked lazily earlier in the week. I’d been toying with the idea but didn’t want to say anything until I was sure,” Nicholls said on his website.
“Noel Fehily felt that the cheek pieces helped bring some improvement on Saturday so the horse will wear them again when he bids to win the King George VI Chase for the second time at Kempton on Boxing Day.
“We’d only had Al Ferof back in training for eight weeks on Saturday, so I couldn’t be over confident going into the race. Yet he has always run well fresh and won with any amount to spare. I think it was one of his best performances. I felt beforehand that he would improve for the run and still believe that is the case.
“Al Ferof has plenty of pace but John Hales has always wanted to win the King George with him so that is where he goes next.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.