A bumper day’s racing with the ITV cameras coming from Kempton for five races and Chepstow for four with the Coral Welsh Grand National the feature race at 2.50. The ground is likely to ride pretty soft at Kempton, especially on the hurdles course whilst Chepstow are calling their ground as good to soft (good in places).
ITV Racing Tips
We kick off today’s festivities with a two mile juvenile hurdle which both Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson have a good record in the race winning it three times in the last ten years each (Alan King has also taken two renewals). It’s only the latter who has a runner today mind in Forward Flight but he would need to improve plenty on his hurdles debut to feature here.
Ex George Boughey flat performer Charles Street ran well for his new stable when runner up at Warwick and Fergal O’Briens juvenile hurdler brings the best form to the table here. Michael Bell’s Artistic Choice has to shoulder a 5lb penalty for his Catterick win whilst Paul Nicholls’ Him Malaya got beat at odds on on his hurdles debut back in October at Newton Abbot. I’ll take Charles Street to take this.
CHARLES STREET 1 point each way 5/1 BetVictor
A class 2 handicap chase run over 2m 3F 98 yards starts today’s ITV action from the Welsh track. The trainer to watch out for here is Venetia Williams as she has won this event six times in the last ten years. Her only representative today is Enzo D’Airy who should be thereabouts. He returned from a 653 days absence to win over course and distance three weeks ago when a seemingly unfancied 10/1 chance, keeping on gamely and pulling away with the favourite Dalamoi who had won well previously. A rise of 6lb seems reasonable and with that run behind him must go close.
Last years winner Golden Whiskey is back to defend his title in first time cheek pieces off of a 2lb lower handicap mark and is not out of this. Richard Hobson’s Fugitif ran well on his seasonal re-appearance when runner up at Cheltenham and could also play a hand in the finish but for me this is all about Enzo D’Airy, Venetia William and Charlie Deutsch in a race the stable seem to do so well in.
ENZO D’AIRY 3 points win 10/3 bet365
The Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase is a grade two contest run over two miles and has some big names on the winning roster over the last decade including Altior, Cyrname, Shishkin and last year’s winner Edwardstone. Only four line up today and with only 9lb officially between the quartet it should be a closely run thing.
Boothill looked good when winning at Ascot prior to bumping into the smart Jonbon at Sandown and with no horse of that calibre in the field today looks the one to be with. Dan Skelton’s Lac De Constance maybe the one to chase him home having won here back in November in bloodless style against a brace of opponents.
BOOTHILL 2 points win @ 5/4 bet365
Run over the minimum trip of two miles the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle usually produces a winner that goes on to make a mark in the game and amongst recent winners are Bristol De Mai, Allmankind and Adagio.
Milton Harris’s Scriptwriter has to carry a 5lb penalty for a brace of wins this winter including last time out at Cheltenham and is a player here. The horse he beat that day Pereseus Way has won since and is 5lb better off for a 2 1/4L beating when he didn’t jump with much fluency. He can turn the tables on his rival today. A
lan King always has a decent juvenile hurdler or two and his Spartan Army is no exception today. Having joined King off the flat from Joseph O’Brien he won well at Wetherby on his hurdling bow and I’ll take him to beat his ten rivals here.
SPARTAN ARMY 1 point each way @ 15/2 BetVictor 1/5th 123
Seven mares go to post for the three miles 121 yards class 2 handicap hurdle. The race has a wide-open look to it with several holding good chances. Anthony Honeyball’s Coquelicot has impressed me winning at Ascot and Sandown this winter rising some 11lb and should be thereabouts. She’s the pick here although the four-timer seeking I Spy A Diva has to come into the calculations along with Harry Fry’s Whitehotchillifili.
COQUELICOT 1 point each way 4/1 bet365 1/4 123
A bumper field of 11 assemble for this class 2 2m 7F 131 yards handicap hurdle which has been won by local Welsh trainers on six of the last ten renewals. Tim Vaughan’s Bells Of Peterboro blitzed the field last year when only seven ran coming home 22L to the good. He’s been chasing this season and is only 4lb higher than that romp last season although it has to be said this looks a much more competitive renewal.
Paul Nicholls saddles a pair in Flemenstide who’s re-appearing following a 291 day absence and the more interesting Sabrina who will be ridden today, like last time, by the promising conditional jockey Freddie Gingell who currently claims 7lb. The mare looks reasonably treated and I’ll take her to score here with bottom weight Bobo Mac her biggest danger.
SABRINA 1 point each way @ 8/1 bet365 1/5th 123
This year’s Ladbrokes Desert Orchid Chase has attracted only 7 runners and is run over the minimum trip of two miles. Some of the best two-mile chasers have won this event over the years including the Nicky Henderson trio Sprinter Sacre (twice), Altior and last year’s winner Shishkin.
This year’s warm favourite is Alan King’s stable star Edwardstone. A winner of last season’s Arkle Chase at Cheltenham he appeared to show further improvement when a comfortable winner of Sandown’s Tingle Creek Chase three weeks ago by nine lengths from Greaneteen. The forecast rain will no doubt help and with his trainer sounding very bullish in his recent Weekender column he will be hard to beat.
Dan Skelton’s Nube Negra looks his biggest threat having coasted round at odds of 1/10 at Cheltenham on his re-appearance in the Shloer Chase last month. That should put him spot on for this and if there is to be one to turn over the favourite it’s likely to be him. It’s Edwardstone for me though although at the likely price it’s a no bet race.
The feature race of the day and the track’s biggest race of their season is the Welsh Grand National run over a stamina-sapping 3m 6 1/2F. Venetia Williams won it back in 2014 with Emperors Choice and saddles the likely favourite here in Quick Wave, who is officially 5lb well in for her easy Kempton victory at the beginning of the month on her seasonal reappearance over 3m 5F. She stays well and likes softish ground and must go close.
Irish raider The Big Dog was an emphatic winner of the Troytown Handicap Chase last month though did pull up in this race last year when fancied. The softer the better for Ben Clarke’s The Galloping Bear who teed up for this with a third over hurdles at Carlisle a month ago. An out-and-out stayer who loves the mud he should be thereabouts off of a mark that doesn’t look too severe although he may find the ground not boggy enough today.
Harry Fry’s Ask Me Early is unraced beyond three miles but shapes like an out-and-out stayer and is another who could run well. Paul Nicholls’s Truckers Lodge was third last year and races off of a mark 9lb lower (plus an additional 7lb from conditional jockey Freddie Gingell). He’s raced in the last three editions of this contest and shouldn’t be totally dismissed from a handy mark. Local handler Rebeca Curtis runs Pats Fancy who has had a prep race for this over hurdles here at the last meeting. As always a tough handicap but I keep coming back to Venetia’s horse Quick Draw and she’s my pick each way with enhanced place terms.
QUICK WAVE 2 points each way @ 9/2 William Hill 1/5th 123456
The day’s terrestrial action concludes with a three-mile class 2 handicap chase. Welsh trainer Christian Williams won this last year with his Five Star Getaway and he’s back to defend his title off of the same mark and looks primed to run well. Williams also saddles Kitty’s Light who looks a well-handicapped horse now and has decent form at the track. He’s one for the shortlist.
Also on the long shortlist is Chris Honour’s Tile Tapper who’s lightly raced over fences and at the right end of the handicap. Venetia Williams has Fontaine Collonges here who won a decent handicap at Haydock last time out and has been raised 5lb.
Top weight Remastered appeared a bit unlucky not to take the Coral Gold Cup last time as he was harried by a loose horse for a long way and even on the run-in. He only went down by half a length and has been pushed up 4lb for that effort. I’ll take him to score here with a saver on the well-handicapped Kitty’s Light.
REMASTERED 1 point each way @ 6/1 BetVictor 1/5th 1234
KITTYS LIGHT 1/2 point each way @ 16/1 bet365 1/5th 1234