Kirkton to put forward Cheltenham case

West Sussex trainer Gary Moore
West Sussex trainer Gary Moore
Kris Spin won the Primo Bar & Bistro Barbados Handicap Hurdle / Picture: Nigel Bowles - Fontwell Park

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Captain Kirkton will tom-orrow put his Cheltenham Fe-stival credentials on the line.

Gary Moore’s five-year-old has been declared to run in the EBF/Sam Mathers Competition Winner Novices’ Hurdle (qualifier) at Fontwell (2.20pm).

The two-mile two-furlong race comes hot on the heels of his entry in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle.

On Thursday, he was named among 96 possibles for the Grade 1 clash at the Festival, which takes place next month.

A general 50/1 shot for that two-mile five-furlong showdown, Captain Kirkton’s odds will crash if he turns in a stylish performance in West Sussex tomorrow.

Punters on the look out for Cheltenham pointers will be watching closely as the son of Flemensfirth takes on 12 rivals at Fontwell.

Captain Kirkton’s dam – What A Mewsment – is a half sister to 161-rated hurdler Fiveforthree and former 161-rated chaser Celestial Gold.

Lower Beeding trainer Moore is, therefore, excited about his charge’s potential.

The bay gelding did nothing to dampen those hopes when finishing second to Mintiverdi by a head on his bumper bow.

It was the Noel Chance inmate’s second win on the level and he is so far unbeaten.

Moore quickly switched Captain Kirkton to hurdles last month and he ran out a comfortable 17-length winner over Alan King’s Radius Bleu.

It was a performance which commanded a Racing Post Rating of 130, an impressive start to life over obstacles.

His performance prompted connections to pencil him in for the Festival, where he could take on some of the best young hurdlers from Britain and Ireland.

Among his rivals could be Nicky Henderson’s ante-post favourite Bobs Worth, Willie Mullins’ Zaidpour and Paul Nicholls’ Rock On Ruby.

But first he will need to repay Moore’s faith with victory tomorrow.

Chief dangers to Captain Kirkton at Fontwell will be Get It On and Featherbed Lane.

However, Moore’s charge will be in receipt of 4lb from the former, who runs for Evan Williams.

The meeting will kick off with the Tiana Honey Watson Fund Juvenile Hurdle at 1pm, where Captain Kirkton’s stable-mate Whitby Jack runs.

There are five hopefuls ready to take their chance in the Keith Williams 50th Birthday Handicap Chase (1.50pm).

Portrait Royale is the top weight in the Ward-Thomas Master Removers Handicap Chase (2.50pm).

And Jamie Snowden’s Marodima shoulders the biggest burden in the Elizabeth Armstrong Contemporary Equine Art Handicap Hurdle (3.20pm).

Moore’s Lepido looks as though he has it all to do in the Wellpool Building And Maintenance Services Handicap Chase (4pm).

Racing ends with the Work And Leisurewear Corporate Clothing Intermediate Bumper, where Spirit D’Armor is gunning to celebrates his second win in two starts for Venetia Williams.