Bogart could take a starring role in Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton Park on Saturday


Sky Bet’s “Road To Cheltenham” continues this weekend with the £30,000 G2 Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (3.00pm, 11 entries) at Kempton Park on Saturday, February 24.
The two-mile contest is the sixth of seven races in Sky Bet’s “Road To Cheltenham” which culminates with the £125,000 G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the opening race of The Festival at Cheltenham on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.
Mont Des Avaloirs (Paul Nicholls, 2/1 favourite with Sky Bet) is top-rated among Saturday’s entries on 141 after finishing third behind Summerville Boy and Kalashnikov in the G1 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown Park on January 6.
Classy flat recruits Scarlet Dragon (Alan King, 4/1), Carntop (Jamie Snowden, 10/1) and Humphrey Bogart (Nicky Henderson, 8/1) could make their hurdling debuts.
Scarlett Dragon was beaten a head in the G3 September Stakes on Polytrack at Kempton Park in September for Eve Johnson-Houghton, while Humphrey Bogart defeated Carntop by half a length in the 2016 Listed Derby Trial at Lingfield Park.
Humphrey Bogart subsequently finished fifth behind Harzand in the 2016 Investec Derby and has not raced since the August of that year.
His trainer Nicky Henderson said today: “I am very happy with Humphrey Bogart.
“He has schooled very well and looks a natural over his hurdles. He seems to enjoy jumping and is very slick.
“I don’t know yet if he will definitely run at Kempton on Saturday – I have got to talk to the owners (Chelsea Thoroughbreds) about what we do. We will make a decision later in the week.
“I think the Kempton race should suit him and if he runs, he will go there with a good chance. The ground should suit him. He is nice horse with a lot of quality and we are looking forward to seeing him run.”
Destrier (Dan Skelton, 4/1) is unbeaten in two starts over hurdles at Leicester and Wetherby, while Global Citizen (7/1) made an impressive debut for Ben Pauling in a novices’ hurdle at Southwell.
Other interesting contenders include Michael’s Mount (Ian Williams, 6/1) a useful middle-distance handicapper on the Flat who won comfortably on his hurdling debut at Doncaster earlier this month, and Shoal Bay (Colin Tizzard, 11/1), a close fifth to Western Ryder when last seen at Cheltenham in December.
Four-year-old French import Ballywood (Alan King, 12/1) is entered, although he also has the option of the G2 Adonis Juvenile Hurdle earlier on the card.
Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle, Sky Bet odds: 2/1 Mont Des Avaloirs; 4/1 Destrier, Scarlet Dragon; 6/1 Michael’s Mount; 7/1 Global Citizen; 8/1 Humphrey Bogart; 10/1 Carntop; 11/1 Shoal Bay; 12/1 Ballywood; 25/1 Harmonise, Rockpoint
Michael Shinners, Racing PR Manager at Sky Bet, said: “The Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle looks all set to be a fascinating affair.
“Mont Des Avaloirs, Sky Bet’s 2/1 favourite, brings solid G1 hurdle form to the table while Humphrey Bogart, Carntop and Scarlet Dragon were all very smart Flat performers at their best.
“We are now entering the final countdown to Cheltenham, with just three weeks to go until the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle gets the four-day spectacular underway.”
The races in the Sky Bet’s “Road To Cheltenham” for the 2017/18 season are:
Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (Grade Two) – Cheltenham, Sunday, November 19, 2017 - won by Slate House
Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (Grade Two) – Ascot, Friday, December 22, 2017 - won by Claimantakinforgan
Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle (Grade Two) – Punchestown (Ireland), Saturday, January 13, 2018 - won by Getabird
Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle (Grade Two) – Haydock Park, Saturday, January 20, 2018 - won by First Flow
Sky Bet Supreme Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle (Grade Two) – Musselburgh, Sunday, February 4, 2018 - won by Beyond The Clouds
Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (Grade Two) – Kempton Park, Saturday, February 24, 2018
Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) - Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 13, 2018
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