It’s Saturday cracker on ITV racing with no less than eight races to get to grips with bringing the best of the Flat and jumps from Kempton, Lingfield and Newcastle.
Let’s get straight to it, and the 1.15pm at Kempton is the Grade 2 Pendil Novices’ Chase over an extended 2m 4f. I’m with MASTER TOMMYTUCKER here, who fell at the 15th fence at this track last time. He jumped a bit left that day so won’t want to make anything like the same errors again, but he’s a lightly-raced individual for the champion trainer Paul Nicholls and has plenty of ability.
He’s a winner at this track already and should give Harry Cobden a good spin.
The 1.50pm at Kempton is a Grade 2 Juvenile Hurdle over 2m. Solo will be hard to beat, but I have a feeling FUJIMOTO FLYER will be a very strong rival. Trained by Emmet Mullins in Ireland, the filly who gets plenty of weight from Solo had plenty of Irish form in the level before scoring at Auteuil last time.
She stays strong and could be useful with Daryl Jacob taking the mount.
Next at Kempton is the 2.25pm, the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle over 2m. No doubt the interesting horse here is ELGIN, who just might be better than all of these if anywhere near ready after a long layoff. He hasn’t been seen since finishing seventh of seven on the Flat at Newmarket in 2018, but Elgin was smart over jumps, finishing fifth in the Champion Hurdle early that year.
Of course we are relying on Alan King having him ready, but if he has then he might just make a huge return. It’s a big ‘if’ but I will take the chance.
Also at Kempton is the 3.02pm, the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle over 2m. Everything about this track suggests useful Flat performer BUZZ will take some stopping for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville. He has looked decent in two jumps wins so far and this tight circuit will be right up his sleeve.
I am expecting another success.
And finally at Kempton the 3.35pm is a handicap chase over 3m. JUST A STING loves this track and did this column a favour when staying on strongly to score at Kempton last time. He is up 3lb for that success which looks fair enough and with just 10st 4lb to carry must have a great each-way chance for Harry Fry and Sean Bowen.
Meanwhile, over at Lingfield ITV show the Listed Hever Sprint over 5f at 2.05pm. Hard to oppose GOOD EFFORT, who has to give weight away but is in tremendous form and has a fabulous draw. Ben Curtis takes the ride for Ismail Mohammed, and there is no one better than Curtis right now. He might be better at 6f than 5f, but as long as he jumps well, will be hard to catch.
Also at Lingfield is the 3.15pm, the Group 3 Winter Derby over 1m 2f. BANGKOK looks an absolute good thing here and I would not put you off lumping on at a shade of odds on. The draw in four is ideal, and with a rating of 115 Bangkok is already the best horse in the race. I was really impressed with his comeback win for Andrew Balding, and while of course Dubai Warrior is some sort of danger – I am confident for my selection.
And finally, at Newcastle (if it passes a Saturday morning inspection) ITV beam the Eider Handicap over an extended 4m1f at 2.45pm. PETITE POWER will be one of the market leaders after a fine third at Warwick last time and is a decent eachway bet in a wide open event.
Stamina is key to the Fergal O’Brien runner, and this trip will be right up his street. With Liam Harrison taking off 7lb he will be hard to keep out the frame.
You hear me Paddy?