Willie Mullins believes that Kempes is a live each-way contender in the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting, particularly because of the lingering doubts over the horses currently positioned at the head of the market.
Kempes is 10/1 in the Cheltenham betting to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and heads to the Festival as one of the form horses for the 3m2f showpiece.
Victory in the Grade One Irish Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown last month showed Kempes’ capabilities and second-season chasers tend to have an excellent strike rate in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Mullins told the BBC: “Certainly the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup are races that we would like to win.
“In the Gold Cup there are question marks over horses at the top of the betting. I feel he has improved and think he has an excellent chance of getting in the first three.”
Kempes may have his own critics to answer, particularly as to whether he is actually good enough to win a Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Meanwhile, no horse that started their career on the flat has gone on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup since 1979.
Of the other contenders, last year’s winner Imperial Commander is at the front of the Cheltenham betting at 7/2, but his preparation has not been ideal by having just one run all season.
Kauto Star’s betting odds are 5/1, but the fact he is an 11-year-old and ran fairly poorly in the King George have left a question mark hanging over his head.
Long Run won the King George and is also 5/1, but he has yet to prove that he can cope with the demands of Chelteham, while 6/1 chance Denman may not quite have the same engine as days gone by.
A £25 stake on Kempes winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup would return £250. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.