It’s the last of the big trials before the Cheltenham Festival in just under three weeks and we start the ITV coverage with the 1:15 pm at Kempton.
Comanche Red won very nicely over course and distance on Boxing Day and the form has been franked since. Master Tommytucker is a free-going sort who will be much better coming back to this 2m 4f trip. The one I really like was a winner on this card last year when beating Angels and that is Southfield Stone.
That was a nice performance at Musselburgh and he could just be a horse for this time of year.
In the 1.50pm at Kempton, Solo was really impressive when winning at Auteuil in November of last year for Guillame Macaire. He is a lovely, big, strong horse who caught the eye that day and now races for Paul Nicholls.
Fujimoto Flyer was successful at that same track when winning a Listed race on very soft ground for Emmet Mullins. She was held up that day and beat Want of a Nail easily and that one has won three times since then, including a Grade 2 and Grade 3 contest.
That is good enough to win here.
The re-arranged Kingwell Hurdle at 2.25pm looks tailormade for Ch’tibello and this looks a great opportunity to get back on track. However, while Elgin has to overcome at 589 day lay-off, he beat Ch’tibello in this race two years ago giving him 4lbs but now gets 4lbs off that rival. He’s had a win op too and any market confidence would be welcomed.
Nicky Henderson’s Buzz heads the market for the Grade 2 Dovecote Hurdle at 3.02pm and this classy ex Flat horse will love the track. The only concern is that he looks like a stayer. Will this be enough of a test for him.? West Cork was impressive at Huntingdon and could be the surprise package.
Paul Nicholls has four runner in the 3m Handicap chase at 3.35pm. His Adrien du Pont is a worthy favourite and ran well in this contest last year when third off a 6lb higher mark. He should be thereabouts. Sametegal is another and with Bryan Carver taking 5lb off – has to enter calculations. However, Black Corton is a wonderful horse for connections and can be a player.
He’s a solid each-way selection.
Kildisart has been crying out for better ground this season and I’d been keen on his chances if it was nice ground. We’re due rain though.
Mister Malarkey can be forgiven his last run and has a chance on his run in the Ladbroke Trophy and last year’s Reynoldstown Chase win.
Newcastle faces and early-morning inspection to see if it stages the Eider Chase at 2.45pm. It’s usually an attritional affair and you need an out-and-out stayer over the 4m 1f trip. Prime Venture was placed in a Welsh National and runs off a 1lb higher mark here. Isabel Williams takes 7lbs off which will help too.
He gets the nod.
Another with a good each-way chance is Nigel Hawke’s Alminar. This lad is a boat! He takes some winding up but stays really well. I can see Danny Cook pumping away on him mid-race but he will come home well and is a double-digit price with Paddy at the minute.