The Racing Post Chase is today’s Kempton highlight and trainer Philip Hobbs is doubly-represented with well-backed duo Quinz (6/1) and Mostly Bob (8/1) with the pair coupled at 7/2 with to give the west-country trainer a fourth win in the race.
Quinz the mount of stable jockey Richard Johnson has won his last three starts going right-handed and looks to have been laid out for the race. The ground is currently good to soft but there is plenty of rain forecast for Friday night and it is worth noting that Quinz would not want the ground to deteriorate too much.
I promised myself that I would follow the other Hobbs’ runner Mostly Bob until he was beaten after his facile win at Doncaster last time, but he is another for whom there must be a concern about the underfoot conditions given his recent improvement has been achieved on better ground.
I am loath to desert the Hobbs’ pair but they do look ground dependent and at a bigger price the handicapper has certainly given last year’s winner Razor Royale (3.00) a chance and he is given the nod.
Taking the excellent Sam Twiston-Davies 3lb claim into account the selection meets top-weight Nacarat on the same terms as in 2010 when Razor Royale narrowly prevailed. Nacarat had another desperately hard race when trying to lock horns with Long Run in the King George last time, but loves it around Kempton having also landed the 2009 renewal of this race albeit from a 9lb lower mark.
Racing Post Chase: EW ¼ odds first 4: prices from
Fistral Beach 5/1
Mostly Bob 8/1
Razor Royale 12/1
The meeting opens with a juvenile hurdle that has been won in recent years by notables such as last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner Soldatino and the current Champion Hurdler Binocular back in 2008. Nicky Henderson has won three of the last four renewals and saddles French import Molotof (1.55) who will be making his British debut and receives 7lbs from Tonic Mellysse (1.55) who also has his first start in this country and races in the same ownership as the selection for Paul Nicholls. The betting should provide valuable clues.
Captain Chris (2.25) has finished runner up on all four starts this term including in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown earlier in the month. His still has much to learn in the jumping stakes but is a ideally served going right-handed and meets nothing of the class of Medermit today. He is another who wouldn’t want too much rain overnight although his class ought to prevail.
Coup Royale (4.45) is the weekend nap returning from a three-month lay off. He certainly has the scope to make into a chaser and there was much to like about his two starts over the larger obstacles back in November. He didn’t quite get home over 3m on the first of those starts and this trip ought to be ideal. It would be disappointing if he couldn’t go very close off what looks a very fair handicap mark.
Comply Or Die landed the 4m Eider Chase at Newcastle back in 2008 before landing the Grand National but now a 12-y-o he is unlikely to be given too hard a race on ground described as heavy ahead of what you would imagine would be his final Aintree assault.
Minella Boys must go close and conditions are ideal for Flintoff but at a bigger price a chance is taken on Morgan Be (3.15) who will think he is let loose with 10st on his back and suggested he was no forlorn hope when running on over 3m at Gosforth Park last time. Runner up in the race two years ago his jumping left something to be desired last time, but if jockey Richie McGrath can get him into a rhythm over his fences he looks well-handicapped and could reward each way support.
Nevada Royale was once considered a potential Gold Cup horse but injuries have plagued his career and he is returning from another three-month lay off in the opener. It would be great for connections if he could get his head in front but my eye is drawn to the fact that Tom Scudamore heads north for a good book of rides including Roi De Rose (1.40)
At Chepstow Voramar Two (2.55) looked all at sea at Huntingdon last time and is better than that run would suggest. He was only just touched off by Silver Kate at the Welsh track previously and that mare subsequently franked the form at Warwick. He is given one last chance to fulfil earlier promise.
There is a cracking card at Fontwell on Sunday and the hope is that Cresswell Crusader (2.10) can go one better than on his hurdling debut. Do note that he is also engaged at Chepstow and ought to take the beating wherever he runs.
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