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A four-runner affair to start ITV’s coverage. Sky Pirate won this race on the way to Cheltenham glory but I’ll side with Brave Seasca who gets a lot of weight from Jonjo O’Neill’s runner. Venetia Williams’ runner has gone up up 16lbs in the official ratings after posting two victories on the bounce which will make life a little harder. He’s on the up though and with this light weight, has to be the pick.
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Jeremy Scott has his team in good form again and this son of Court Case was tidy when winning at Exeter over hurdles last time. He is competitively handicapped over fences and this looks a perfect fit for him to continue the winning thread.
Named after owner Max McNeil’s dad, who lead the Open Championship golf tournament on ‘three under par through five holes’ many years ago. it is hard to see past Paul Nicholls’ runner as he is a dour stayer. He jumped okay on at Doncaster, but he was very good at Cheltenham. Mint Condition will revel in the conditions and finished a good second in the graded novice hurdle on this card last year but the favourite will be tough to beat.
The drier the ground, the better the chance Mister Fisher has of getting his head in front. A field of three other runners will help and it looks a really opportunity for him to get back on track. Defi Du Seuil would have picked these up and carried them in his pomp. Let’s hope he is back to his best and can run a good race as he’s looked a shadow of his former self at Ascot last time. It would be a brave call to back him until we see him produce something like his old form.
A tough one to call but Surrey Quest’s pedigree points to a lot of stamina on the dam’s side and that just sways it for me. He handled soft ground well at Doncaster and even though the form of his win at Leicester has been let down, I’m willing to take a punt on him. Party Business was running a good race when coming down behind the improving Stage Star at Newbury and looked far from beaten. Stag Horn was a very good Flat horse, but this will be a very different ball game if it turns into a slog.
Trainer Evan Williams is in red-hot form and has been the one to follow in the big races on weekends. Dans Le Vent won a nice prize at Haydock over three miles so this 2m 5f trip is absolutely fine for him. The biggest problem in this contest will be getting a clear run. It will be a tightly contested race and they may end up going quick up front. That will really suit the selection as he stays well.
I am wary of Green Book with a 10lb claimer Ned Fox on board. He’s won easily the last twice for Venetia Williams. Cobblers Dream is another who won tidily last time at Doncaster in a decent contest, Dans Le Vent each-way is the play.
Corach Rambler is a young, progressive horse and trainer Lucinda Russell has a good record in the race, but he is ‘quirky.’ I have watched him win at Cheltenham and Aintree and even when he won a novice hurdle at Carlisle on bad ground, he looked a tricky ride. He is a good jumper on the whole and while he made one mistake at Cheltenham at the first fence, he jumped well after that. He will need to jump every fence well at Warwick as it puts a real premium on jumping ability.
The veteran Achille is a good solid each-way alternative, having finished fourth in the Welsh Grand National, despite missing the start. He’s been second here before, likes the ground, so has a lot going for him. I like Gerricault Roque’s profile but he had a hard race at Newbury when narrowly beaten by Saint Palais just 17 days ago and that dampens my enthusiasm a bit.
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I couldn’t believe Caribean Boy he fell at the very first fence at Ascot, as he is normally a brilliant jumper. This eight-runner field is perfect for him and this looks a really good contest for him to get back to winning ways. He was only beaten 13 lengths in a Cheltenham Festival handicap off an 8lbs higher mark and this drop in class could bring out the best in him.
The first five home in this qualify for the Pertemps Final, so with only seven runners a completion will almost be good enough for these. Riggs went down narrowly at Haydock and is proven in the soft ground. He might need to go up a fraction in the weights to get in the final at Cheltenham, so a win here would be perfect in achieving both goals.
Warwick 13:18 – Brave Seasca
Kempton 13:32 – Champagne Court
Warwick 13:50 – Threeunderthrufive
Kempton 14:05 – Mister Fisher
Warwick 14:25 – Surrey Quest
Kempton 14:40 – Dans Le Vent (each-way)
Warwick 15:00 – Corach Rambler
Kempton 15:15 – Caribean Boy
Warwick 15:35 – Riggs
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