The meeting at Kempton takes centre stage today, with five televised races on going which, amazingly, contains the word ‘good’ in the description.
We’ll start with the headline race, the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at 3.02, which has a field of 9 headed by Nicky Henderson‘s unbeaten Buzz.
Rated in the high 90s on the Flat, Buzz has won both its hurdles starts and has been allocated a rating of 139, which, if accurate, is enough to take care of most of this field.
However, we are going to believe the evidence of our eyes and suggest an each way bet on Benson at 8-1.
Starting your hurdles career in a Class 1 Listed event is unusual to say the least, but that is the race chosen by the good Doctor for his 5-y-o.
Not a great surprise to see the horse go off at 66-1 against the likes of Quel Destin and Call Me Lord, and four from home Benson trailed the rest by 15 lengths. The surprise was to watch this horse make steady and smooth progress on the bridle to join in with the others approaching the second last, only to dig his toes in and unseat Sean Bowen. There is little doubt that Benson would have taken a hand in the finish, suggesting a rating in the high 140s, which puts it in with a tremendous chance today.
TV coverage starts at 1.15 with the Betway Pendil Novices’ Chase and in this we will stick with our last time out selection Commanche Red at 2-1.
The handicap this 7-y-o won over CD on Boxing Day has worked out really well, with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th all successful since and there is hopefully more to come.
We are going to swerve the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at 1.50, on the grounds that we haven’t a scooby what might prevail.
At 2.25 the Betway Kingwell Hurdle takes place, having been salvaged from the abandoned meeting at Wincanton and, although we hesitate to abandon Ch’tibello, we will take a chance on the well-being of Elgin, which is available to back at 4-1.
Alan King‘s 8-y-o won this race two years ago, but has been sidelined through injury since July 2018. Difficult task, we appreciate, but the back form is there so let’s hope Elgin still has its marbles.
The only handicap on telly is the Betway Handicap Chase at 3.35 and that man Nicholls looks to have a strong hand in this with four of the 14 runners.
We like the chances of two of them, so advise each way bets on Black Corton at 5-1 and Sametegal at 8-1.
Cameras are also covering the Winter Derby at Leafy (3.15) and this race looks a straight shoot out between Bangkok and Dubai Warrior. At 4-6 and 7-4 respectively, with sod’s law confidently predicting whichever you pick, the other one will win, we are no bet.
Benson 3.02 Kempton 2pts e/w @ 8-1
Commanche Red 1.15 Kempton 2pts win @ 2-1
Elgin 2.25 Kempton 2pts win @ 4-1
Black Corton 3.35 Kempton 1.5pts e/w @ 5-1 (5 places)
Sametegal 3.35 Kempton 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (5 places)