Sire De Grugy and Special Tiara set for Kempton showdown

Sire De Grugy (left) and Special Tiara (right) could clash at Kempton

PICTURE: Getty Images Grugy and Tiara set for Kempton showdown By Graham Dench 5:40PM 22 DEC 2016

SIRE DE GRUGY, winner of the race in 2013, heads nine entries for Tuesday's reopened 32red Desert Orchid Chase, which has attracted another former winner in 2014 victor Special Tiara.


Fields of five or six are the norm for the Desert Orchid, but Tuesday's race now has unusual strength in depth.

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Nicky Henderson, who took last year's running with Sprinter Sacre, has entered last year's Wayward Lad runner-up Vaniteux, as well as Altior, so impressive in last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham and an easy Grade 1 novice chase winner at Sandown earlier this month. Sir Valentino and Garde La Victoire are also entered.

Altior, as expected, also features among the entries for the Wayward Lad Novices' Chase on the same Kempton card, which was also reopened for entries on Wednesday.

None of the last five runnings has had more than five runners, but there are now 11 possibles in the 2m Grade 2. Henderson, who has won the race seven times since 2000, has also entered Saturday's Haydock winner Buveur D'Air, while Some Plan, who was perhaps unlucky at Cheltenham last month, heads three possibles for Special Tiara's trainer Henry de Bromhead.

Rain 'hit and miss'

The going at Kempton remains good, good to soft in places after the track missed most of the rain that was forecast overnight on Wednesday.

Clerk of the course Barney Clifford said: "We had just half a millimetre of precipitation overnight, followed by a grass frost.

"We could still get between 2mm and 5mm of rain on Friday evening but it's a bit hit and miss. It's then set to be dry after that and sunny on Boxing Day. In an ideal world I'd like to see that bit of rain, but if it's somewhere between good and good to soft I'll be very happy."

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