Al Barez gets back to winning ways at Kempton

Tom Clover hoping there might still be a bit more to come yet.

Tom Clover is looking forward to seeing how Al Barez progresses after landing the victory he had been threatening in the Virgin Bet Best Odds Daily Handicap at Kempton.

The five-year-old has been knocking on the door in two starts since returning on the all-weather earlier this year and was sent off the 5-2 favourite in the hands of Jack Mitchell over six furlongs at the Sunbury track.

Positioned towards the rear, he made good headway as David Evans’ Radio Goo Goo began to tire on the front-end and stuck his head down gamely in the closing stages to seal a neck verdict over Holy Fire.

“Jack did well to get a nice pitch from a wide draw and he’s been threatening to win, he’s been perhaps a touch unlucky on his last few starts,” said Clover.

“He’s a lovely little horse with a nice pedigree and he deserves to get his head in front. He only won by a neck but he knuckled down well which was lovely to see and I hope for the owners he can be a really fun horse for the season. Hopefully he can go and progress.”

It has been an interrupted couple of years for Al Barez who racked up three victories in succession in 2022 but failed to build on that during a 2023 campaign compromising of just the two appearances.

Jack Mitchell rode Al Barez to victory
Jack Mitchell rode Al Barez to victory (Adam Davy/PA)

Having rediscovered his best form in the early stages of 2024, Newmarket-based Clover is now eager to see how far the son of Dark Angel can climb during the turf season as he tries to make up for lost time.

“As a result of being off he’s got pretty low mileage and is pretty unexposed so I’m hoping he can find his way,” continued Clover.

“He likes a strong pace and something to aim at and hopefully we can look forward to the turf season and have a smooth run really.”

Palace Green looks a smart prospect
Palace Green looks a smart prospect (Adam Davy/PA)

Eve Johnson Houghton’s Pont Neuf (11-4) may have unseated his rider in the parade ring and subsequently walked to post, but he had no problems making his way home fastest of all when claiming the opening Virgin Bet/EBF Restricted Novice Stakes, while Richard Hughes’ rich vein of form continued when Palace Green (7-4 favourite) made all in the Virgin Bet Fives/EBF Novice Stakes to register an impressive five-length success.

Liseo (11-4) shaded a close finish to the Virgin Bet Daily Price Boosts Handicap for Simon and Ed Crisford, with Dr Richard Newland and Jamie Insole’s Farasi Lane (12-1) surviving a stewards’ inquiry to win the Virgin Bet Daily Extra Places Handicap.

There was a shock in the concluding Virgin Bet Handicap with Keiran Burke’s Whitcombe Rockstar landing the spoils at odds of 25-1.

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