Daryl Jacob is looking forward to getting on his “favourite” horse Top Notch in Saturday’s Unibet Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton.
Jacob missed the busy Christmas period with a hand injury, but returned to action with a winner at Ludlow on Wednesday and is eager to resume his association with the Nicky Henderson-trained nine-year-old.
The duo won the Peterborough Chase last time out and in the absence of stablemate Altior, who was ruled out during the week, he heads the ante-post market for the Grade Two event.
“He’s just about my favourite horse I think. I’m really looking forward to riding him,” said Jacob.
“He seems in really good form and has pleased Mr Henderson since the Peterborough Chase.
“He’s just a wonderful horse to have around the place, all he wants to do is please you.
“I’m really excited about riding him and hopefully it goes well – obviously it’s a shame Altior couldn’t run for the yard, though.”
Top rated in the race is Paul Nicholls’ Frodon, winner of the Ryanair at the Cheltenham Festival last March in emotional scenes.
He provided Bryony Frost with a memorable success, but has failed to reach those heights in two outings this season – although he is 7lb clear on the official ratings.
Nicholls’ assistant trainer Harry Derham said: “He has won a few races going right-handed and he’s won at Kempton before, so that’s not an issue.
“He’s in good nick, we’re happy with him. He worked well on Thursday and schooled nicely on Monday. We’re looking forward to running him back over two and a half miles.
“At Haydock he finished behind two very good horses (Lostintranslation and Bristol De Mai) and, in hindsight, three-mile-one round there probably wasn’t perfect for him.
“He’s probably in better nick now than he was at Haydock, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Second to Top Notch in the Peterborough Chase was 100-1 shot Kauto Riko and trainer Tom Gretton is hoping he can replicate that run.
“He ran a great race first time out and if he can run to the same level, we’ll be delighted,” said Gretton.
“How he fares in this will let us know if we should go back handicapping. It’s the right race to be in.
“Obviously when Altior was in at the beginning of the week we might have waited until Ascot next week, but when he came out we decided it was worth running.
“Handicaps can be harder races on horses – there’s only five in this, so it shouldn’t have too hard a race.
“The longer straight should suit him and if he jumps like he did at Huntingdon, he shouldn’t be too far away because he’ll be staying on at the end. He probably wants three miles really.”
Dan Skelton’s Born Survivor and the Warren Greatrex-trained Keeper Hill complete the field.