Andy Gibson's big race review: The fall-out from the Kauto Star Novices' Chase

With the dust settling after Kempton's rich Boxing Day card, horse racing analyst Andy Gibson has taken the time to study the performance and prospects of the runners in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase.

An overreaction in the ante-post market? 

Thyme Hill's previous race at Newbury could not have turned out much worse for him, but conversely, the Kauto Star Novices' Chase unfolded very kindly for him, and resulted in him looking more impressive in the finish than he might otherwise have done.

The favourite did not get home and the only other two in the betting failed to complete the course. In essence, on the strength of beating one non-stayer, Thyme Hill is now a single-figure price for the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase in March, which is currently a race struggling to find a worthy favourite.

With March in mind, his smooth round of jumping at Kempton should be noted, but at the same time, the way his performance fell apart when things got tough for him at Newbury should not be overlooked.

Kempton and Aintree may be best for McFabulous

I suspect this was a case of McFabulous simply failing to see out the three miles on the softer surface.

Last time out, on good ground at Newbury, he appeared to stay the near three-mile trip well; however, it must be noted that the runner-up's jumping fell apart on that occasion and the only other runner was the 132-rated Mortlach.

McFabulous had been tried over three miles twice before without really convincing he had stayed the distance on either occasion, and furthermore his form on flat tracks reads much better than the levels he has reached whilst competing at Cheltenham..

Personally, I would see the Pendil Novices' Chase at Kempton as his obvious next step, followed by missing Cheltenham and waiting for the Manifesto Chase, which is the opening race at the Aintree festival in early April.

Gelino Bello worth marking up

Given Gelino Bello 's undoubted stamina, I did not feel his race was run when he came down at the final fence before the turn for home.

He may not have been travelling like the best horse at the point of his departure, but nonetheless, once his stamina kicked in I strongly suspect he would have finished second at worst if standing up. I would prefer his claims when competing round a more galloping track like Newbury or Doncaster.

More to offer from the Skelton mare

Galia Des Liteaux's jockey said she lost her confidence after taking off too early and almost banking the second fence.

As a consequence, she tended to be more than a little 'guessy' at her fences, travelling and jumping in an exuberant manner and looking spectacularly good over one or two fences.

Conversely, she also gave the appearance of an 'accident waiting to happen' at more than one fence after that early blunder.

I would not lose faith in her and suspect she is just as likely to recover from this setback as not. If it goes well for her next time, I could easily see her shining over the larger obstacles before the end of the season.

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