It’s a stonking day on ITV racing Friday with no less than eight races – including the Welsh Grand National – packed into the show from Chepstow and Kempton.
Let’s get straight to it, and the 13.20 at Kempton is Grade 2 novices’ chase over 2m. A hot heat, but French import FANION D’ESTRUVAL is on a real roll, and made a fantastic British debut when scoring at Newbury last time for Venetia Williams. Big chance for Charlie Deutsch to get a huge success on the board.
Next at Kempton is the 1.55pm, a handicap hurdle over an extended 3m. DANSE IDOL was strongly fancied by connections on seasonal debut at Wincanton and ran a shocker. The fact she has been off the track since then suggests something was amiss and I expect a much better effort here for Paul Nicholls. Have a few quid on each-way.
The 2.30pm at Kempton is the Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase over 2m. A poor renewal, and this is just the type of event SCEAU ROYAL mops up although he’s not good enough for the top level. Alan King’s challenger was disappointing in the Tingle Creek but this is much more his scene with no Altior around.
And finally at Kempton there’s a handicap chase over 3m at 3.05pm. I expect a big show here from JUST A STING, who is trained by Harry Fry and ridden by Sean Bowen. The selection was runner-up at this fixture last year, and returned this season with a thoroughly respectable fourth at Wincanton. Should take all the beating.
Meanwhile, over at Chepstow ITV show the 1.05pm, a handicap chase over an extended 2m 3f. Hard to oppose another Venetia Williams runner here in the shape of ECEPARTI who is in terrific shape and the mount of Hugh Nugent, who takes off a valuable 7lb.
Eceparti has scored at Chepstow and Wetherby on his last two starts and while he is up 11lb he will take some stopping once again.
The 1.35pm at Chepstow is the Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle over 2m. ALLMANKIND was a fair Flat performer and has taken well to hurdles for Dan Skelton having formerly been with Michael Bell. Wins at Warwick and Cheltenham have suggested my hope is very useful.
Next at Chepstow is a handicap hurdle over nearly 3m at 2.10pm. ACEY MILAN will bar hard to kick out the frame for Anthony Honeyball and Rex Dingle, who takes off 3lb. This horse deserves to win after two decent seconds at Plumpton and Haydock.
And finally at Chepstow it’s the big betting race the Grade 3 Welsh Grand National over an extended 3m 6f at 2.50pm.
The one to back each-way here is last year’s third YALA ENKI, who has everything needed to win this time around. He’s only 1lb higher than twelve months ago, and had a nice prep run for Nicholls at Newbury. Stamina is his strong suit and he will keep going under Bryony Frost when others have had enough.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
*Prices and entries correct at publication