The Adonis Hurdle (Kempton 13:15) is generally a pretty good trial for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, and Alan King’s Redicean has been impressive. He’s small, but sharp and quick and knows his job. He’ll be hard to beat in this one – I like him.
Looking ahead to the Triumph, Nicky Henderson’s Apple’s Shakira looks rock solid, and will be the number one of the English juveniles , but Alan has always been capable of finding a top juvenile.
As for the Dovecote (Kempton 15:00), which is held up as a Supreme Novices trial, I don’t really know these horses very well, but if one of them is going to be a genuine Supreme horse, they’ll have to go about this race in an impressive manner.
These two races are usually run on relatively dry ground, meaning horses can recover in plenty of time for Cheltenham. Kempton is a bit different to, for example, Gowran last weekend – this is a flatter track on better ground.
The 15:35 Handicap Chase at Kempton is wide open, and has been historically a good race. It’s an open handicap, and can sometimes serve as a trial – I rode Comanche Court in this race in the past, en route a Gold Cup run.
But I’m unsure if the winner of this will go to Cheltenham due to a potential penalty when the Festival weights are done on Sunday. Still, something that finishes a little down the field might end up going in Cheltenham. So this is a race worth keeping an eye on.
Another one taking place on Saturday is the Eider Chase (Newcastle 14:45). I wouldn’t mind having a go at it, but I’ve never actually ridden this one, although I watch it every year. It’s a real slog, a real dour staying contest, and a race with a great tradition.
Newcastle will be a lot softer than Kempton, so you need an economical jumper willing to remain a little behind the bridle and who stays forever. A lot can change down the straight in this race, and it wouldn’t be the worst Aintree Grand National trial in the world.
Bellshill ran a blinder in the RSA, which was the last time he was out. He has been given plenty of time to recover after last season, and had a bit of a setback early in the year, but probably could have run last weekend or even ten days ago. He’s probably a bit classier than Pleasant Company, but the latter had the advantage of running the Thyestes before coming here last year.
Bellshill has a rating of 148 in the English national, and runs at Fairyhouse tomorrow off 150. He has to give 8lbs to Mala Beach, who’s off 156, so technically we could be a stone wrong with him.
Mala Beach probably has a fitness edge over Bellshill, but I think the latter will run a big race and may make himself more prominent and shorter in the betting for both Grand Nationals. You’d like to think he’s capable of running a bit better than 150, while Mala Beach has never run to 156 – a penalty put him there – so Willie Mullins would be entitled to take on a horse like that.
Cadmium’s maiden hurdle at Limerick in 2016 looked pretty good with Call the Taxie finishing second, but he was well-beaten in his first trip over fences at Navan in January.
But he should have improved a ton for that. We’ve been quite happy with how he’s been going lately at home, and this looks a winnable race. I think Cadmium may be Willie’s best chance on Saturday.