After yesterday’s King George exploits we return to Kempton for another four races.
The opening contest, as with yesterday, looks set for a Nicky Henderson winner. Clearly the yard are in great form and favourite Vaniteaux was very impressive when winning here on its chase debut. This race looks a better contest than last time but not too steep a step up and despite its odds on price it looks likely to go in once again.
Of its rivals JP McManus’s purchase of The Saint James has to be noticed and the Gary Moore trained Ar Mad looks a likely improver but I just can’t see past the favourite in the opening contest.
We take our first of three trips to the all-weather at Chelmsford.
There may only be five runners going to post but a chance can be made for most of them.
At the foot of the market Noguchi will appreciate the step up in trip and return to a winning mark shows this could be the dark horse in the race and shouldn’t be discounted so readily.
The horse that gets my vote however is the hat-trick winning favourite Belrog. The booking of top jockey Oisin Murphy is a big positive and it has been found a relatively easier task than it could’ve been. It’s great record here is another big plus which should see this one rack up yet another win.
A return to Kempton where it looks set to be a mirror of the previous chase contest. An odds on Nicky Henderson favourite looks to have returned to its previous best as Sprinter Sacre is set to show off its chances of being a big player in the two mile chase division once more.
On its day the favourite was one of the highest rated chasers in recent years and if anywhere near its peak should hack up in a race of this nature.
Sire De Grugy has to be respected after its Tingle Creek success but I fear its lost some of its previous ability and is likely to be playing second fiddle behind the Henderson horse today.
Sprinter Sacre (WIN)
The second of three selections from Chelmsford sees former class two winning sprinter Normal Equilibrium take a step down into this company. The horse is currently priced around 6/1 which seems massive considering it has a 100% strike rate at this venue. Drawn in stall two which will be an advantage to its front running tactics and is definitely worth backing if the bookies are seemingly being generous.
The biggest threat to my selection is the seasonally named Stocking who comes into this after a decent effort here last time out and a drop in class looks to aid its chances as it should go close.
Normal Equilibrium (E/W if 9/2+)
A break from what seems to be the norm as a Nicky Henderson horse doesn’t head the market. Instead the current joint favourites hail from the yards of Kim Bailey and Alan King. Of the two I prefer Alan King’s Ned Stark who’s competed at a higher level than this and could go well for a yard in form.
Despite the chances of Ned Stark I hope I’ve unearthed a horse with a bit of value in the form of Opening Batsman. The horse travelled well in the majority of the Munster National despite finishing ninth and after a layoff should now strip a lot fitter. A great record at Kempton shows the horse will handle the conditions and at a current double figure price it looks worth a punt.
Opening Batsman (E/W)
The last all-weather selection in today’s TV Tips hails from the yard of Derek Shaw and despite Loyalty’s recent up and down form its previous victory came over course and distance in this grade.
Supersta looks the one to beat after two previous course and distance victories but a step up into this company saw the horse flatter to deceive and although it has a great chance I think it’s current price seems far too short.
An each way shout with Loyalty seems the way to go.
Loyalty (E/W if 9/2+)
We end today’s live racing with a three mile handicap hurdle where jockey Richard Johnson looks to have a great chance of victory onboard Henry Daly’s Tara Mist.
The ultra consistent horse has finished placed or better in eight of its ten races and it’s breeding shows it has the scope for improvement. The lightly raced runner might not be favourite but it certainly has a great chance.
The current favourite Desert Queen looks worthy of its spot at the head of the market as every time it’s finished a race it’s found its head in front but two pulled up races doesn’t make me all too confident about a horse with a short enough price in what looks a competitive race.
Tara Mist (E/W if 9/2+)