herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Sea’ crew angling for rain

’Bass bid for Kempton glory at whim of weather

GROUND conditions will dictate whether Ted Walsh allows prolific winner Seabass to take his chance in the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton on Saturday.

The nine-year-old is unbeaten in his last six starts in Ireland and has landed valuable handicaps at Limerick and Leopardstown.

But with conditions at Kempton currently drying out, Walsh is concerned the ground will not suit his charge.

Seabass also has the option of running

in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday, or the paddypower.com Chase at Naas on Sunday.

“It all depends on the weather,” said Walsh.

Ground

“They are calling the ground good at Kempton and are even talking about watering if the rain doesn't come, which tells me it is pretty quick – that wouldn't suit our horse.

“We've also got him at Fairyhouse and Naas and we'll just see which way the weather is going later in the week.

“We'd like to go to Kempton, but the trouble is you can travel over and then be tempted to run – even if the ground isn't right. It's not the same as going down the road to Naas or Fairyhouse and deciding not to run.”

Colin Tizzard intends to make a late decision on whether to let Saturday's facile Haydock winner Cannington Brook turn out again quickly for this prestigious handicap.

The eight-year-old galloped his rivals into the ground on Merseyside, with the handicapper having raised his mark by more than a stone.

Cannington Brook would only carry a 5lb penalty this weekend, but Tizzard wants to check on his inmate's well-being later this week before committing to a run.

“We left him in the race on Monday and we're keeping our options open at the moment,” said the Dorset handler.

“He was very good on Saturday and the handicapper has put him up 15lb, which I suppose he was entitled to after winning by 35 lengths.

“A while ago we thought he was a horse for something like the four-miler at Cheltenham and now he's winning over two-and-a-half miles, so he's no slow coach.

“He's a beautiful young horse with a bit of class about him and we'll just have to decide whether we go to Kempton later in the week. If the race was 10 days later and the ground was soft, I'd say he'd nearly be a definite runner.

“But, as it is, the ground is going to be different to what it was at Haydock on Saturday and it is coming up quite quick.”

Barney Clifford, Kempton’s clerk of the course, said that watering was certainly a possibility.

“There is the chance of us getting a couple of millimetres of rain this evening, so we'll see if that materialises, but it would be nice,” he said.

“There has been plenty of moisture in the ground, as you would expect for this time of year, but it is drying out a bit and I wouldn't rule out putting five millimetres of water on during tomorrow and Friday if we don't get much more rain.

Contemplating

“I'm only contemplating it at the moment and I won't make any decision on watering until tomorrow. I'm aiming to maintain good ground for Saturday.”

Top-weight and ante-post favourite Planet Of Sound is definitely on target to line

up for his first start since finishing second in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November.

Trainer Philip Hobbs is planning to use the Racing Plus Chase as a stepping-stone to the Grand National at Aintree in April.

“He's in very good form and worked well this morning. We're hoping to go there (Kempton) and then the National,” Hobbs said.

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