Kempton and Warwick provide the class action today, on ground that is becoming raceable again and should suit just about every runner.
Centrepiece of the Kempton card is the 32Red Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at 2.40, with the ‘dead sixteen’ due to take part.
First two on the betting are both trained by bridegroom Nicky Henderson, who will doubtless truncate his wedding speech in order to get to a telly in time for the race.
In our view, both Diese Des Bieffes and William Henry both have questions to answer, the former in terms of rating and the latter in terms of well-being, so we pass on both for betting purposes.
Our primary fancy for this race is the Dan Skelton trained Spiritofthegames, available at an attractive each way price of 16-1. With brother Harry on duty at Warwick, able deputy Bridget Andrews is in the plate and her 3lb allowance puts this 6-y-o at just 2 lbs higher than winning its seasonal reappearance race at Lingfield at the end of November. A mark of 134 should not be beyond this son of Darsi, which gave weight and a healthy beating to a horse now rated 138 on its last run as a novice.
Joint second favourite for this race is the Alan King trained River Frost, which ran a promising race first time out when 5th in a valuable race at Chepstow. Nudged up 3 lbs for that, we prefer Mr King’s other runner, Dino Velvet, as an each way punt at 20-1.
An improved performance last time out when stepped up in trip, this consistent second-season 5-y-o could come on again today and is well worth chancing under Wayne Hutchinson.
The 32Red Casino Chase, a Listed event at 2.05 provides our other Kempton bet in the shape of Waiting Patiently at 2-1.
This Malcolm Jefferson trained 7-y-o is unbeaten in 4 chases, including taking the scalp of a certain Politologue and, with yer man Brian taking the ride for his in-form yard, WP can take care of a bunch of justabout yesterdays.
Over at Warwick, the most valuable race of the day is at 3.35 when the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase is run over 3m 5f, with a field of 13 doughty stayers.
Top of the market is Sir Greatrex’s Missed Approach at 5-1, which was last seen in the re-named Hennessey, finishing 6th after being prominent for much of the way under Dear Dickie. The handicapper has seen fit to drop Missed Approach no less than 6lbs for that run, which is a big help, but, in yet another change of headgear, this really doesn’t look the value choice.
Our idea of the winner is another inmate of the Skelton yard in Sir Mangan, which is available, each way, at 15-2. Just 9 runs over the larger obstacles have produced two wins, including last time out when staying on really strongly to win at Bangor. Now off a mark of 138, there is still mileage to be had with this horse, which has been kept for this race since that Bangor victory in November.
Our other suggestion in this race is an each way bash at Topper Thornton at 16-1. This Alex Hales trained 9-y-o was having just its second run for the yard when an honourable fifth in the Betfair London National at Sandown, over today’s exact trip. Not beaten far that day, it should be absolutely spot on today and can run a really big race under Harry Bannister.
The other race of interest on the card is the Pertemps Network qualifier at 2.25 and in this we like the look of The Organist at 7-1 (e/w). A game winner at Newbury last time out and just 6lbs higher today, after just 9 hurdle runs, this 7-y-o has the look of an improver. I’m not sure whether Niall P Madden is ‘boots’, ‘slippers’ or ‘open-toed sandals’, but, whichever one he is, he can bring this one home.
And that’s it.
Spiritofthegames 2.40 Kempton e/w @ 16-1 William Hill / 12-1 SkyBet (5 places)
Dino Velvet 2.40 Kempton e/w @ 20-1 PaddyPower / 18-1 SkyBet (5 places)
Waiting Patiently 2.05 Kempton win @ 2-1 Betfred
Sir Mangan 3.35 Warwick e/w @ 15-2 Ladbrokes (4 places)
Topper Thornton 3.35 Warwick e/w @ 16-1 Coral (4 places)
The Organist 2.25 Warwick e/w @ 7-1 Ladbrokes (4 places)
*** In case you’re wondering: motto of the Olympic Games