sport

Top novices clash at Kempton

Mick Channon runs Sgt Reckless in what looks a hot William Hill - In The App Store Novices' Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Always highly regarded, the six-year-old won his first two bumpers in impressive fashion last season, before finding the hustle and bustle of the Cheltenham Festival event a bit too much at that stage of his career.

He shaped with a deal of promise when third on his hurdling debut at Wincanton and then slammed West Wizard by five lengths at Kempton.

Given West Wizard was ante-post favourite for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the time, it was a performance that made people sit up and take notice.

Channon said: "Usually it's a very good race, it's been won by some very nice horses down the years, but we like ours a lot.

"I really hope he fulfils his potential as the Radfords (owners) have some lovely young horses but he's the best of them and he's as nice a (jumping) horse as I've ever had."

Much focus will surround Dubai Prince, the one-time Epsom Derby favourite and Group Three winner who is now with John Ferguson and made an impressive start to his hurdling career in winning at Leicester in November.

Nicky Henderson has won the last two runnings and this year relies on French import Vaniteux, who got off to a successful start for Seven Barrows at Sandown.