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Chepstow and Kempton take centre stage on ITV racing this Monday. However, sadly The Welsh Grand National has to take place behind closed doors as the Welsh Government have decided no crowds are allowed due to Covid-19. We will kick off our picks at Chepstow.
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ZAMBEZI FIX finished a good second in the December Handicap Hurdle at Sandown at the start of this month having fallen when still going well over fences at Ffos Las in November. He is off the same mark in this contest and will not mind the ground either.
It is extremely hard to look past EDWARDSTONE as Alan King’s charge has a fair bit in hand on official ratings. However, Do Your Job could well be the one chase him home in this novices’ chase.
Forever Blessed is a big, raw, horse, who got the job done at Sandown last time out. He should handle conditions and I was really tempted to go for him. However, with conditions set to be really testing that will play to the strengths of the ex-French-trained horses.
For that reason, I am going for Gary Moore’s PORTICELLO. He made a bad mistake late on that cost him at Doncaster recently, but he handled very soft ground really well when winning at Auteuil last April and that’s why he gets the nod.
Bourbon Beauty has dropped in the ratings, but has some top class form to her name – including a very good win in a competitive Grade 2 Mares’ Hurdle at Newbury last March. That was off a mark only 4lbs lower than she races off now.
AL DANCER finished third off a much higher mark when placed behind Coole Cody in the Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last year. He showed that he stayed too when placing over this trip over hurdles at Sandown back at the beginning of the month. So, back over fences, the Sam Thomas-trained entrant has to be of interest.
I had the pleasure of watched Shishkin jumping at Nicky Henderson’s on Thursday and he just flew over the obstacles. He is back in great form, so is hard to oppose.
I love a horse that has won previously at Chepstow and SECRET REPRIEVE has done it three times in his career. He is also only 6lbs higher than he was when winning this race last year. Evan Williams has been the big-race king over the last few big weekends and this young horse could still be improving – even if he makes his seasonal bow in such a tough contest.
Hold That Taught is another trained by an in-form handler in Venetia Williams. He looks like this 3m 6f marathon trip will bring out the best in him. The only concern is he races from 6lbs out of the handicap and that is a negative.
Elegant Escape is of interest as a previous winner of the race (2018). He is slipping down the ratings, which will help his cause and he is only 5lbs higher than when he won the race. He’ll love conditions and should run well. Native River would be a fantastic result for the punters, but it will be a big ask with the weight Colin Tizzard’s gelding has to carry.
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I thought FIVE STAR GETAWAY was disappointing at Chepstow last time out, but I would rather judge him on his victories at Sandown and Haydock last year. He is definitely a player in this contest, as he will cope with conditions and that can’t be said of a lot of the others.
13:05 Chepstow – Zambezi Fix
13:20 Kempton – Edwardstone
13:40 Chepstow – Porticello
13:55 Kempton – Bourbon Beauty
14:10 Chepstow – Al Dancer
14:30 Kempton – Shishkin
14:50 Chepstow – Secret Reprieve
15:10 Kempton – Five Star Getaway
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