Perhaps the biggest compliment a horse can get – not that they’ll ever be aware – is when an owner of JP McManus’ stature buys you.
Wyck Hill has won his last two races in decent style but it is the subsequent exploits of Katenko, a horse he beat four lengths in his last race, that attracted the leading Irish owner to snap him up this week and made the David Bridgewater-trained gelding such a hot favourite for the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton tomorrow.
Katenko has gone on to smash two decent fields and his new rating makes Wyck Hill look very well-handicapped off 142.
The three-mile Grade Three chase has been won five times in the last ten runnings by eight-year-olds. Duke Of Lucca and Mister Hyde fit that trend this time around.
Wyck Hill will be bidding to become only the second nine-year-old after Farmer Jack in 2005 to scoop the £56, 950 first prize in the last ten renewals.
Favourites have a poor record with only one outright jolly justifying its market position in the last decade. La Landiere in 2003 was a joint-favourite.
Four of the last ten winners had previously won at Kempton. Nacarat is a dual-winner of this race and if he wins again he will become the most successful horse in the race’s history.
Quinz is another former winner of the race back for more tomorrow. Mister Hyde and Summery Justice are previous winners at this track.
Paul Nicholls has saddled the last five favourites. Aside from Gungadu in 2008, the last four have all lost and three of those failed to complete.
Nicholls has What A Friend and Rolling Aces entered with Ruby Walsh, twice a winner of this contest, riding the latter.