Paul Ferguson has four selections for us on a busy day of racing on Saturday. Ski Sunday; Mossley; Benbane Head; The Betchworth Kid
Kempton’s card on Saturday wouldn’t be out of place at one of the spring festivals and, though the highlights are the re-arranged King George and Christmas Hurdle, the feature betting heat is the WilliamHill.com Lanzarote Hurdle.
The step up to 2m5f is bound to bring about improvement in The Betchworth Kid (3:35) and, with the ground on the soft side, he could be facing his optimum conditions.
A very smart Flat horse on testing ground, he tried this trip here last February, but the race was run at a sedate pace and, if he is to win a big pot this season, this looks his best chance.
Earlier on the card, the William Hill Handicap Hurdle is another competitive affair, in which Skint looks potentially well treated for the in-form Nicky Henderson team.
However, deteriorating ground is not ideal and his former stable-mate Ski Sunday (1:20) (ran just once on the Flat for Henderson) is really interesting on his return to the winter code.
The son of King’s Best twice won on the soft in February 2009 before he finished runner-up in the Fred Winter off a 3lb higher mark, after which he chased home Walkon in Aintree’s Grade 1 4-Y-O Anniversary Hurdle.
The booking of AP McCoy could be significant and, if retaining his old ability, he can certainly win a race of this nature off 133.
Up at Wetherby Benbane Head (3:10) is the third handicap hurdler to side with, as he looks capable of taking the penultimate 3m1f contest.
A winner of a novice hurdle at Cheltenham in October 2009, he returned in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow in October, but Martin Keighley’s horses weren’t in the best of form at the time.
The trainer has his string in much better order now and he boasts a tremendous 33% strike-rate (3 winners from 9 runners and a very healthy level stakes profit) at the track in the past five seasons.
He holds the seven-year-old, who is his only runner on the card, in high regard and he could well prove a mark of 128 to be on the lenient side.
Finally, in the unlikely event Warwick passes an 8am inspection and gets the go ahead Mossley (2:45) is fancied to maintain his 100% record and the tremendous recent run of the Nicky Henderson stable.
A Grade 2 winner at Cheltenham last time, the drop back in trip won’t inconvenience the son of Old Vic who looks to have a very bright future.
1:20 Kempton: Ski Sunday
2:45 Warwick: Mossley
3:10 Wetherby: Benbane Head
3:35 Kempton: The Betchworth Kid
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase