Captain Chris heads Racing Plus entries which include improving Katenko
Last Updated: January 30, 2013 12:22pm
Captain Chris could bid for Kempton compensation
Captain Chris could return to Kempton Park to gain compensation in the 2013 Racing Plus Chase on Saturday 23 February.
The Philip Hobbs-trained chaser, beaten by just a neck in the William Hill King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, heads the entries for the £100,000 race.
The three-mile steeple chase, which has a rich history stretching back to 1988, is often a big pointer to the major spring festival races at Kempton Park's sister racecourses at Cheltenham and Aintree.
Not only is the owner-trainer partnership of Diana Whateley and Philip Hobbs responsible for the highest-rated horse entered for the Racing Plus Chase, they have numbers two and three as well.
Menorah has won three times at Kempton Park already, most recently in the William Hill Levy Board Peterborough Chase, while Wishfull Thinking has run in the williamhill.com Desert Orchid Chase for the last two years.
Up against all of them is the Racing Plus Chase specialist and Kempton Park favourite Nacarat who won the race for trainer Tom George in 2009 and 2012 and was placed in the two seasons in between. At 12 years old, he's the veteran among 42 entries this year.
The 2011 winner Quinz, another horse stabled with Philip Hobbs, is entered too, as is Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's What A Friend, who was fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2011.
Attempting to go one place better than last February is Hector's Choice, trained in Herefordshire by Richard Lee. The nine-year-old finished runner-up to Nacarat.
If Philip Hobbs has a strong hand in the race, so does the champion trainer Paul Nicholls who, in addition to What A Friend, is responsible for four other entries.
There are three entries from Ireland, the most high profile of which is trainer Ted Walsh's Seabass, a well-backed third in last year's John Smith's Grand National and being targeted at Aintree again this season.
Katenko, a winner at Cheltenham last time and a possible Cheltenham Gold Cup horse, is another highly-rated entry for the Racing Plus Chase.
Barney Clifford, Regional Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Kempton Park, said: "The Racing Plus Chase is not only a tremendously high class race it is also one of the most competitive in the jump racing calendar.
"Judging by the quality and depth of these entries, the 2013 renewal will be no different and we are set for a superb day of jump racing on Saturday 23 February."
Racing Plus editor Chris Smith added: "The Racing Plus Chase is always one of the most competitive handicap races of the season, with Desert Orchid and subsequent Grand National heroes Rhyme 'N Reason and Rough Quest among the former winners.
"There is an array of jump racing talent among the entries this year and the prospect of two times winner Nacarat taking on the likes of Captain Chris, 2011 winner Quinz and 2012 runner-up Hector's Choice as he attempts to complete a trio of victories will make for an occasion to savour."
As part of an exciting day's racing on Saturday 23 February, William Hill - which already sponsors January's Lanzarote Hurdle day as well as the William Hill Winter Festival at Kempton Park - sponsors the grade two williamhill.com Dovecote Novices' Hurdle.
On the card too are two other grade two races - the Rewards4Racing Pendil Novices' Chase and the Racing UK Subscribe For Cheltenham Adonis Novices' Hurdle.