Coneygree could miss out on Kempton if the going is too quick
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Bruce Jackson 8:00AM 13 DEC 2016
CONEYGREE is angry and hungry for revenge over his Haydock conqueror Cue Card was the message from his corner ahead of the 32Red King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, according to connections of the 2015 Gold Cup winner.
Sara Bradstock, wife of trainer Mark Bradstock and who rides out Coneygree twice a day, reported that he was ready to serve it up to his Betfair Chase conqueror Cue Card in what could be racing’s equivalent of last weekend’s Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora boxing classic.
Bradstock had earlier dismissed Cue Card’s stablemate Thistlecrack as another potential knockout opponent pointing to his novicey jumping as an Achilles’ heel.
“I can honestly say I am very frightened of Cue Card but not Thistlecrack,” Bradstock said. “Watching Thistlecrack in his races he is getting to the other side of his fences but he is in the air not jumping them at pace.
“It is a tall order to go Coneygree pace and it will take him out of his jumping comfort zone not his galloping zone.”
Asked how Coneygree was in preparation for the rematch, Bradstock said: “He has come out of Haydock a little angrier and wanting it a bit more. I want people to believe he is the greatest.
“I always thought with the £1 million bonus that Haydock was the difficult place where he could get beaten as they quicken into the home straight.
“Coneygree was extraordinary after the race. You expected him to be tired but he was wound up. He stopped blowing quickly and he wanted to go again.
“There is plenty of improvement in him and he didn’t really get up to full speed at Haydock.
“I think Kempton is perfect for him – he can keep serving it up to Cue Card and the only way we can beat Cue Card is to get him working to get to us not cruising up to us.
“I want to see him having to race and be pushed along before he gets to us and would then be hopeful we can win the battle.”
Hoping for rain
The weather could yet intervene to ruin the exciting Boxing Day climax, not through traditional freezing temperatures which are not forecast but because of a lack of rain.
Coneygree has shown at home when working on the grass gallop that even good ground leaves him showing signs that is quick enough for him.
Bradstock added: “I am fearful Kempton is going to be too fast after Haydock was too soft. He is fussy about the ground and it would have to be good to soft or soft.
“If it is good we would have to walk it to check it was not any faster. If he didn’t go to Kempton he wouldn’t run over Christmas.”
In such an event, the Betbright Trial Chase at Cheltenham on 28 January or the Denman at Newbury the following month would come into the reckoning as Coneygree’s Timico Gold Cup prep.