After a week of what can only be described as rubbish racing, quality returns today with the meetings at Warwick and Kempton providing highly competitive televised fare.
The traditional Grand National trial, snappily called the McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase at 3.00 on the Midlands course has a field of 13 and we think it may lie between the first two in the market.
Kimberlite Candy, in first time headgear, ran an absolute stormer on seasonal re-appearance to finish second in the Becher Chase over the National fences and, after a 3lb hike, looks well capable of taking this under the evergreen Richie McLernon. Have an each way bet at 11-2.
Favourite for the race is The Conditional, last seen carrying the weight of our selection when finishing a gallant second in the Ladbroke Trophy behind our other pick de Rasher Counterand this lightly raced 8-y-o may still have improvement to come, so it makes sense to have a win bet at 4-1.
First race on our screens from Warwick is the (self serving claptrap) Hampton Novices’ Chase at 1.50 and the horse with the rock solid form in this is Highest Sun, trained by Colin Tizzard.
Third to Champ, second to Pym and then winning a match against a 144 rated Hendersoninmate is the portfolio to date and that’s better than any of the opposition. Have a win bet at 2-1.
The Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle at 2.25 has a field of 6, headed by the Skelton‘s pride and joy Shan Blue and another Tizzard runner, Harry Senior, at 3-1 the pair.
Promising as these two are, we think the Oirish raider Decor Irlandais may give them a run for the wonga. Not quite getting home in a Class 2 handicap over 3m+ at Cartmel in August off a mark of 145, this 7-y-o returned to these shores last month to toy with a 138 rated horse, giving away 9lbs and winning hard on the snaff. Visits to Catterick and Cartmel are, we grant you, an unconventional route to a Grade 2, but at 8-1 we suggest an each way punt.
The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at 3.35 is a typically competitive looking affair and we suggest each way bets on Stoney Mountain at 13-2 and Igor at 10-1, perhaps more in hope than expectation.
Feature of the Kempton card is the Unibet Silviniaco Conti Chase at 2.05 and, in the well publicised absence of Altior, this looks at the mercy of last year’s winner Top Notch. With chief rival Frodon not at its best this season, NJH‘s runner should probably be odds-on, so at 11-10 we recommmend a minor ‘lump-on’.
The Unibet Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at 2.40 is highly competitive and we eschew the head of the market and look further down the list for our two darts.
Debestyman, trained by Suzy (she of the big hair) Smith, has run three improving races this season and looks overpriced at 9-1, and Vinnie Dev at 33-1 warrants our second pin stick for reasons we are not permitted to divulge.
Last, but probably not least, is the Unibet Handicap Chase at 3.15 and, if On The Blind Sideis ever to get back to winning ways, it’s just gotta be today, so have a decent wager at 7-4.
Happy punting, people.
Kimberlite Candy 3.00 Warwick 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (5 places)
The Conditional 3.00 Warwick 2pts win @ 4-1
Highest Sun 1.50 Warwick 2pts win @ 2-1
Decor Irlandais 2.25 Warwick 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (2 places)
Stoney Mountain 3.35 Warwick 1pt e/w @ 13-2 (4 places)
Igor 3.35 Warwick 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (4 places)
Top Notch 2.05 Kempton 4pts win @ 11-10
Debestyman 2.40 Kempton 1pt e/w @ 9-1 (4 places)
Vinnie Dev 2.40 Kempton 0.5pts e/w @ 33-1 (4 places)
On The Blind Side 3.15 Kempton 4pts win @ 7-4