The Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle will take place at Kempton Park on Saturday following the abandonment of the Sandown card last weekend. The weather in the UK has played havoc with the National Hunt calendar in recent days, but plenty of trainers and fans will be delighted that the popular Tolworth Hurdle has been saved. The Tolworth is the final grade 1 novice hurdle of the season in the UK and with entries to be re-opened, it should be a highly competitive renewal despite its change of venue.
The Tolworth will be a big boost to the Kempton card this weekend with the Lanzarote Hurdle the feature race. It is expected that The Liquidator will once again lead the decs for the race with the David Pipe trained horse one of the leading fancies for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham. A good run from him at Kempton this weekend will only see his star enhanced with two nice wins already under his belt this winter.
Other potential runners at Kempton could include the Willie Mullins trained Upazo who is another to keep a very close eye on.The six-year-old is another classy horse looking for his third win on the bounce and any horse sent over from Ireland by Mullins is to be respected. The Irish Champion Trainer has a plethora of novice hurdles in his care this season and a good run from Upazo in the Tolworth Hurdle, could well see him head towards the front of the queue for the Festival opener.
Mullins enjoyed some success with another of his novice hurdlers at the weekend with Briar Hill winning the Slaney Novice Hurdle. That Grade 2 success over 2m4f came in workmanlike fashion and the Champion Bumper winner now looks on track for Cheltenham. He remains in the Supreme betting but the Neptune or the Albert Bartlett look more likely for a horse that clearly enjoys more of a stamina test.
The Tolworth Hurdle will hopefully shed more light on the novice hurdle division this weekend with the Festival now just ten weeks away. It is great news that the race has been saved with ante-post punters likely to be watching the race closely on Saturday with some excellent horses set to take their chance.