Kemboy bounced back from his underwhelming outing at the Cheltenham Gold Cup with a fine performance at the Betway Bowl at Aintree. Willie Mullins’ charge will now aim to end the National Hunt season on a high note with a victory at the Punchestown Gold Cup.
The bay gelding was upstaged by his stable-mate Al Boum Photo at Cheltenham. The French-bred horse claimed the prestigious crown with Paul Townend in the saddle. Kemboy on the other than unseated Ruby Walsh, ending his challenge for the title.
However, he was back to the peak of his powers at Aintree in the Betway Bowl. He put forward a dominating performance to defeat a talented field by nine lengths. As a result of the quality of his display, Kemboy has been installed as the favourite for the Punchestown Gold Cup by bookmakers.
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Kemboy proved that fact with his two performances over the last month. He failed to clear the fences at Cheltenham, costing him a shot at the prestigious crown. However, the seven-year-old was on form and in rhythm at Aintree, clearing the fences with ease on his way to a dominant victory ahead of a number of quality competitors, including King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux.
Looking ahead to his run at Punchestown, Kemboy should be in line for another victory. Other than his failure at Cheltenham, the French-bred horse had been outstanding over the course of the term. He began the campaign at the Clonmel Oil Chase where he was installed as the favourite. The seven-year-old rose to the occasion to defeat his nearest rival Alpha Des Obeaux by three lengths.
At the Savills Chase at Leopardstown, Kemboy had a point to prove against a quality field, including Bellshill and Road to Respect. The French-bred horse found his stride to pull away from his rivals in the contest to cruise to a dominant win, finishing seven-and-a-half lengths ahead of Monalee. After three months away from the track, he failed to find his form at Cheltenham, suggesting that Kemboy is a horse that needs to be in rhythm to produce his best.
Mullins put his horse straight back out for the Betway Bowl after two weeks rest. He delivered a brilliant performance at Aintree, proving his quality. A win at the Punchestown Gold Cup would confirm his status as an elite competitor and certainly one to watch for next season at all the major events.