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Activial takes aim at Adonis Hurdle at Kempton

Updated: Friday, 21 Feb 2014 18:09 | Comments

Trainer Harry Fry boasts a 20% strike-rate over hurdle at Kempton
Trainer Harry Fry boasts a 20% strike-rate over hurdle at Kempton

Activial has been mentioned in some quarters as a live outsider for the JCB Triumph Hurdle and puts those claims on the line in the BetBright.com Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton tomorrow.

Trained by Harry Fry, Activial is taking the same route as the Paul Nicholls-trained Zarkandar who landed this on his way to Triumph glory a couple of years ago when Fry was his assistant.

Zarkandar was making his hurdling debut that day but Activial has had one previous run over timber, when second to Nicholls' Calipto at Newbury, and Calipto is now second-favourite for the Cheltenham race.

It was always Fry's intention to give him a lengthy break after that outing and everything has gone well since.

"I've been very pleased with him and he's done very well for a break," said the Seaborough handler.

"We hadn't had him long before he ran at Newbury and the form has worked out great from that race. I hope we continue the trend.

"The Adonis has been the key trial for the Triumph in recent years. I remember when I was with Paul that Zarkandar made his debut for us in it before winning the Triumph and Soldatino was another to win both.

"It's strange, as you couldn't get two more different tracks than Cheltenham and Kempton.

"The idea was to freshen him up after Newbury and this will tell us whether we head for the Triumph or wait for Aintree or whatever.

"He's schooled well and the sun is out so everything is positive.

"It's a good race and looks very competitive. Rebecca Curtis' horse from Ballydoyle (Agreement) could be anything."

Agreement won over a mile and a half on the last of his three runs for Aidan O'Brien and Curtis feels she may as well find out how good he is rather than lose his novice status.

"He works like a nice horse at home but it's a big ask first time out," she said.

"We decided there was no point trying to win an ordinary novice with him and then be in limbo next year so by running him here it will tell us whether we should be thinking of going to Aintree or not.

"He jumps well enough but he probably wants better ground.

"He certainly has the ability to go close."

Alan King runs Duroble Man but he accepts that the Triumph might be out of his reach.

"Duroble Man has won over the track," he said on his website.

"I think he is more a Fred Winter type, rather than a Triumph horse, but he needs another run before Cheltenham and any improvement in the ground will be in his favour."

Nicholls runs two French imports in Solar Impulse and Alcala, both owned by Graham Wylie.

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