Haydock option for Kemboy's autumn return

Betfair Chase possible en route back to Cheltenham

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The Betfair Chase at Haydock will be considered as a potential autumn target for Kemboy.

The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old won four of his five starts last season, his only blip coming in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when he made it no further than the first fence.

He landed a hat-trick of Grade One wins, with wide-margin victories in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown and the Betway Bowl at Aintree supplemented by his memorable triumph over stablemate Al Boum Photo in the Punchestown Gold Cup – the final ride of Ruby Walsh’s illustrious career in the saddle.

Kemboy was last week confirmed as the highest-rated National Hunt horse in training in the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classifications – and while he is now enjoying a well-earned summer holiday, members of the Supreme Horse Racing Club are already looking forward to his return.

Steve Massey, racing manager for the owners, said: “I think we’re all still on cloud nine after Punchestown, to be honest, and to see him crowned the champion jumps horse of the season last week was the icing on the cake.

“He’s now out in the field having a break and will return to training in July, all being well.”

In recent seasons the Betfair Chase has been the first leg of the Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown, with Jockey Club Racecourses offering a £1million bonus for any horse who can win at Haydock before following up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

“We haven’t really discussed plans for next season, but obviously he’s going to be aimed at all the top races,” Massey added.

“I think we’d have to at least look at Haydock, but if the ground came up heavy I think it would be very doubtful.

“As always, it will be completely up to Willie to decide where he runs.

“There aren’t that many options when you get to that level. Haydock aside, you’ve probably got the race at Down Royal (JNwine.com Champion Chase) and the John Durkan at Punchestown if he’s going to run before Christmas.”

It is hoped, of course, that all roads lead to another shot at the Gold Cup, won this year by Al Boum Photo.

Massey added: “We hope he’ll be back at Cheltenham next March for another crack at the Gold Cup – and the King George would look a suitable race for him over Christmas, along with the Savills Chase again, obviously.

“It would make sense to consider Haydock, but a lot can happen between now and November, so we’ll see.

“We’ll be taking it one race at a time.”

Haydock option for Kemboy's autumn return
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