Racing: Per Quod can prove his class with winning debut at Kempton

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The Independent Online
SO MANY high-class Flat horses are taking their chance over timber these days that it may not be long before the Derby winner gets an immediate quote for the Champion Hurdle, writes Greg Wood.

Per Quod, good enough to win a Group Three race on the Flat when conditions were testing, is now a resident of Nick Henderson's yard in Lambourn, and ready to start a new career over jumps. Kempton's meeting at the weekend has been inked in as his likely starting point, and even if he is a stone short of peak fitness, his debut should be a winning one given the appropriate going.

Henderson's Travado returned home sporting a black eye after being brought down at Cheltenham two runs ago, but showed no ill-effects when winning easily next time up at Newbury. Reckoned an Arkle prospect, he will be short odds for the Bic Razor Novice Chase, but at the probable prices, Dusty Miller makes more appeal.

Kempton's card on Friday has a novice hurdle which will have a strong bearing on this season's Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham. Scrutineer, the present favourite, is opposed by Martin Pipe's Her Honour, and Dissimulateur, whose inexperience let him down on his Sandown debut. The latter can show the most improvement.

That Nigel Twiston-Davies had high hopes for Tipping Tim, his Mackeson winner, in the King George probably says as much about the quality of this year's King George as anything else. Yet he is still an improving animal - his disappointing run at Kempton on Boxing Day was traced to a pulled muscle - and can emphasise the point in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock on Saturday.

Nomadic Way, another who disappointed last time out but is now reported in rude health by his trainer, can take the Long Distance Hurdle on the same card.

All the usual suspects will be out at Fontwell tomorrow, when the figure-of-eight chase course will throw up its usual quota of specialist winners. Up-A-Point (3.30) can be one of them, while at Folkestone the following day Exarch (2.40) should improve on a good debut. Lake Mission (1.40) can find reward for his dependability at Ludlow on Wednesday.

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