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Barry Connell's Mount Benbulben will have King George at Kempton as his early-season target

Updated: Sunday, 16 Jun 2013 10:31 | Comments

Mount Benbulben had a terrific end to the season, winning a Grade 1 Champion Novice at Punchestown
Mount Benbulben had a terrific end to the season, winning a Grade 1 Champion Novice at Punchestown

Connections of Mount Benbulben have nominated the King George VI Chase at Kempton as his first major target of the coming jumps campaign.

The eight-year-old was a wide-margin winner of a Grade One event at Punchestown on his final start last season, his third win in nine starts over fences.

While Mount Benbulben fell short at the highest level on two other occasions, his Punchestown triumph saw him finish the season with a rating of 160 and owner Barry Connell has high hopes for the winter.

He said: "Mount Benbulben is very exciting, he's the highest-rated novice chaser we saw.

"We'll aim him at the King George and he'll start off in the race up at Down Royal (JNwine.com) in November.

"For the time being he'll stick to right-handed tracks because he just seems so much better going that way.

"It was nice to get the Grade One because Gordon (Elliott, trainer) always loved him. I think the key to him is three miles as they go a fraction slower.

"His jumping is improving with experience. He's got a big engine and in soft ground over three miles, he'll be hard to beat.

"Kempton should suit him very well and you'd hope he'd get his ground.

"There's a lot to look forward to."

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