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GA LAW dropping back from Grade 1 company and is the one I’ll side with here. He ran very credibly in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase behind Allmankind when finishing third, but this test should suit perfectly. Ga Law likes to get on with things and dropping back to 2m trying to keep pace with a horse like Allmankind was always going to be a huge ask.
This race is more to his level, Coole Cody is the only pace pressure he’ll likely face, and he should have plenty of natural speed to see him off. We saw in his previous two starts prior to the Henry VIII that 2-and-a-half miles on good ground is to his liking, and this course and distance should really suit his style too.
He has Tamaroc Du Mathan from the Paul Nicholls stable to beat, so he’ll have to run to a fair level. But, over this course and distance with the race likely to pan out to suit, I’d be with Ga Law. He should be more than capable of taking this on his way to another crack at Grade 1, possibly at Aintree later in the year.
It’s fair to say there’s no standout horse in this year’s renewal of the Winter Derby, like Dubai Warrior or Wissahickon in previous years. The only even slightly exciting horse in here is Roger Varian’s Father Of Jazz, who takes a step up in class having previously won a handicap off a mark of 90.
One of the proven form lines might be good enough and the best of them looks to be FELIX, who won a trial for this at Wolverhampton and was unlucky not to win the official trial over course and distance earlier in the month.
He’s a slow starting and fast finishing horse, who’s done extremely well to get as close as he did in both those races given the slow pace they went. I don’t believe he’ll get a frantic pace to go at here, but the addition of Father Of Jazz should add a bit more speed to this and should help him with a more suited set up.
He holds Forest Of Dean on his previous two runs and the only one I’d be worried about would be Father Of Jazz, but at this stage of his career Felix may just be a better horse than him. Father Of Jazz could well have the most ability of these, but it could pay to side with the proven talent that Felix brings to the table.
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This is a very competitive race, as you always tend to get in this sort of contest, and conditions look like they should be to BLACK CORTON’s liking. He’s been quite disappointing this year, but you must take that into context with the fact he is slipping down the weights as a consequence. He’s now 1lb lower than when he was runner-up in this race last year behind Mister Malarky, who he reopposes here 9lbs better off than last year.
They tried cheekpieces on him for the first time at Cheltenham on his last start and he seemed to resent the, so they’ve taken them off for this thankfully. The most crucial thing with him is the ground, as this is the first outing since this race last year that he will be running on his favoured good ground. That coupled with him being back at Kempton, a track he’s always thrived at having won a Grade 1 here as a novice, should allow him the opportunity to bounce back to his best.
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