Medermit and Thornton back on right track
Injury and insults were respectively consigned to history at Plumpton yesterday when Robert Thornton and Medermit each made a significant return to the fold.
For Thornton, success in the novice hurdle on Jetnova was his first since he confounded science by halving an anticipated year's absence with a serious knee injury. He then proceeded to complete a double on Medermit, who had refused a fence at Huntingdon on his previous start.
Whether the horse did enough to renew hope in anyone who had backed him for the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy is another matter. He jumped tidily for the most part, but hit the fourth last before regrouping to lead two out and see off Tullamore Dew by three lengths.
Alan King was simply relieved to see Medermit put his Huntingdon debacle behind him. “Bar the fourth last, I thought he jumped great,” the trainer said.
“And 'Choc' blames himself for that. I haven't got quite as much schooling into him as I would have liked, as the schooling ground has been frozen for the last fortnight. He could easily step up in trip. So while the Arkle is likely, I wouldn't say it's set in stone.”
With a new novice chase to tempt him at the Festival, over two and a half miles, he would certainly discourage anyone getting involved at 10-1 for the Arkle.
Back in July Thornton ruptured three out of four knee ligaments in a fall and was told that recuperation was likely to take 12 months. Ten days ago, however, he completed an astonishing comeback, and on Jetnova he demonstrated fitness and stamina to wear down two previously unbeaten rivals.
The return of arctic weather threatens to disrupt the calendar later in the week, but the clerk of the course at Kempton professed himself “confident” the William Hill King George VI Chase would survive on Boxing Day.