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Kempton: Henderson has the touch of a Master

Nicky Henderson bids to win the Feltham Novices' Chase for a sixth time when he saddles Master Of The Hall at Kempton on Boxing Day.

The six-year-old made a successful debut over the bigger obstacles at Ascot last month and will now attempt to add to Henderson's previous winners of the Grade One contest over three miles.

The Seven Barrows trainer has struck with Sparkling Flame (1990), Mutare (1991), Fiddling The Facts (1997), Bacchanal (2000) and Long Run last year.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has three Feltham wins to his credit and he relies on Newbury scorer Aiteen Thirtythree this time.

Henry de Bromhead's Loosen My Load is the only Irish challenger, while the rest of the 10-strong field is made up of Billie Magern, Cois Farraig, Fredo, Fruity O'Rooney, Golan Way, Hell's Bay and On Borrowed Wings.

Paul Webber is hoping Cois Farraig, a winner at Newbury a month ago, can last out the distance at the tender age of five.

"It's a hotter race than it would be had there been racing everywhere else, but he seems to stay well and I think he'll be strong enough for three miles," said the Banbury trainer.

"He's won a point-to-point over three and his pedigree suggests he will be all right at the trip. It's just that he's a five-year-old and is a very big horse. It's just if he's got the strength for three miles.

"We'll find out how good he is on Boxing Day."

Colin Tizzard feels Hell's Bay has a chance on the book on his run behind the Webber-trained Time For Rupert two starts ago.

"We've thought about this race for the last six weeks," said the Dorset trainer.

"He's got a handicap mark that gives him a chance. We tried him over two miles last time and he didn't have enough pace for that.

"He didn't get three miles round Cheltenham up the final hill, but if you go back to his second there behind Time For Rupert that gives him a chance.

"It's three miles on a flat track and we're looking forward to it.

"He’s had five weeks of a break and is lovely, fresh and well."

Belfast Telegraph


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