Kempton stage a terrific card this afternoon beginning with an excellent Handicap Chase over 2m 4f. It has been a difficult season for Victor Dartnall but when his string do, eventually, find their feet he will have some very well handicapped horses.
One such inmate is Mic’s Delight whose five career wins have all been gained in January or February on right-handed tracks. He is running out of time if he wants to maintain that record and has not won for over two years, but he is beginning to look very well handicapped and the drying ground will help.
He might be worth a saver but Present View (1.30) is another who could be very well handicapped despite being 8lb higher than when scoring at Exeter back in November. His 5l second to subsequent Feltham Chase winner Annacotty, gave 5lbs, reads very well in this grade and, as a son of Presenting, he is another who should be suited by the drying ground.
The weights for the Cheltenham Festival come out on Wednesday and if Present View is to get a run in the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase he might need to win at Kempton. He must go close.
The Adonis Hurdle is, as always, a hot Grade 2 event and Paul Nicholls’ has saddled the winner three times in the last five years. He runs two today Solar Impulse and Alcala the latter ridden by Daryl Jacob but preference is for Commissioned (2.05) blinkered for the first time today having ran a cracker on debut for John Ferguson. Formerly trained by Mark Johnston on the level the selection ran a race full of promise at Cheltenham on debut and this sharper track holds no fears having won at Musselburgh back in October in a valuable flat handicap.
Alan King has saddled the winner of the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle three times in the last eight years and his First Mohican is entitled to improve for his Doncaster win on debut and is a big player in receipt of 3lbs from Irving (3.15) but preference is for the Paul Nicholls runner.
The selection is unbeaten in three over timber and is a leading candidate for next month’s Supreme Novices’ at the Festival. He is currently a 7/1 shot with BetVictor Non Runner Free bet.
The big betting race of the day is the Betbright Chase and it looks a cracker; my two against the field are Ardkilly Witness (6/1) and Tour Des Champs (3.50) with marginal preference for the latter who is visored for the first time and can reward each way support at 10//1 with BetVictor.
The selection does need to brush up his jumping but there are bits of form which suggest he is extremely well handicapped and he will think he is let loose off 10st 1lb.
The Rebecca Curtis yard are beginning to hit top gear and Minella On Line (4.25) lurks at the foot of the weights in the 3m handicap and the booking of Barry Geraghty suggests a big run is expected.
The same combination teamed up with Ascot winner O’Faolains Boy last weekend and I think an opening mark of 114 for the selection looks attractive. Edmund Kean (1.50) has quietly but efficiently won both his starts over fences for David Pipe and gains more valuable experience in Newcastle’s opener.
He looks one for a Festival handicap rather than the RSA although he does hold entries in three Cheltenham races next month.
No surprise to see Figaro (2.20) improve when sent handicapping at Musselburgh last time and he is taken to follow up off a 7lb higher mark with Tom Scudamore replacing Richard Johnson who is required by Philip Hobbs at Kempton.
Royale Knight should run well in the marathon Eider Chase but the vote goes to Smoking Aces (2.55) who is due to carry 9st 12lbs if you include his jockey’s claim and over an extended 4 miles on soft/heavy ground that could prove vital.
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