The beginning of a season is arguably the hardest to try and identify winners as we wait for the form to settle down, but that mainly applies to maidens and novice events where the form is either minimal or non-existent.
So the handicaps and graded races are the areas to concentrate on ‘early doors’ and my starting point at Kempton Park on Tuesday is the class five, mile and a half handicap at 5.05.
Ryan Moore is obviously an eye-catching booking for Harry Fry aboard London Eye, but he is priced up accordingly and I am happy to let the market leader win at the prices.
I though that the outstanding piece of each-way value was with the Alan King trained NED PEPPER at in a race where Paddy is paying the first four home.
The son of Intello has been making gradual progress in his six race career over five months, but is quite obviously been crying out for a fast-run race, where his undoubted stamina can come into play.
Even on his fifth start, the selection showed signs of greenness and I have little doubt that he can take advantage of a mark of 71 and looks solid each-way material.
The feature race on the card is a class four sprint at 2.10 and it looks a really competitive event for this level.
Grandfather Tom is likely to start favourite after his superb second half to the last campaign, but he is up against some seriously well treated rivals here none more so than SPOOF.
An out and out 5f handicapper, the gelding’s last three runs have come over 6f, but I see the minimum distance as his optimum trip.
His close up third to Shamshon at Leicester in a class three affair in September gives him an almighty chance here off a 5lbs lower mark and I shall be surprised if he can’t make his mark here against the market leader and Dean Ivory’s Charming Kid.
The low grade six furlong handicap at the tail of the card at 17.40 looks wide open, but at massive odds I am prepared to give the Mick Channon trained LIGHTNING BLUE another chance to hit the frame at least.
She simply didn’t go a yard on heavy ground on her first two starts, even though she is by Harbour Watch.
Her third qualifying run came in a better event at Newmarket when she was hampered early on and had little left in the locker at the back end of the race.
On the bare evidence of those runs she is indeed reasonably handicapped but her breeding suggests she could be much better than this level.
Richard Fahey’s SOOTABILITY is preferred to the veteran Rotherwick in a tough looking 10 furlong handicap at 13.35, but a much stronger fancy is the Frankel colt BORN A KING in the mile maiden due off at 15.55.
I was at Doncaster when colt made his debut and he was quite green both in the paddock and to post, but was a real eye-catcher in the race proper.
Dropped out in rear byTom Marquand that day, he was given plenty of time to get into a rhythm and under considerate handling came home well to be beaten three and a quarter lengths into fourth spot. He could well turn out to be above average in time over further.
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