Today’s Hereford card is subject to an 8am inspection this morning and, at the time of writing, there are further inspections planned for tomorrow’s meetings at Kelso and Fontwell. Nicky Henderson bypassed Newbury at the weekend to wait for a novice chase at the Borders track tomorrow with his RSA Chase favourite Champ – 3/1 at BetVictor – and he is running out of time to get a prep run into the horse who fell two out in the Dipper Chase when last seen at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
No problems expected at Kempton for this evening’s eight-race flat card. In the mile-and-a-half novice Stakes Dante’s View is fitted with a first-time tongue-tie as he makes his first start for George baker having previously been with Sir Michael Stoute.
Merry Vale did plenty of running getting to the front at Lingfield last time and, in the circumstances, ran well in third. She promises to be suited by the step up to 12f, but I would be quite sweet on the chances of Omnivega (5.30) were it not for his draw out on the wing in stall 12. The selection was given far too much to do over 11f here last time and I hope jockey Callum Shepherd can get his mount competitive as they go into the first turn.
I’ll Be Brief (6.00) steps up to 7f for the first time and I thought she ran a cracking race on her handicap debut at Newcastle last time from a 2lbs higher mark. The booking of Ben Curtis catches the eye on Julie Camacho’s filly who has only had four career starts and is open to significant improvement.
Three of the five runners in the mile handicap are last-time out winners including Marco Botti’s Lyricist Voice (6.30) who ran out a cosy winner at Newcastle last time from a 5lbs lower mark. Leading apprentice Stefano Cherchi takes off a valuable 7lbs and the hope is that the three-year-old can transfer his improved form on tapeta back to polytrack.
I have always been a fan of Continuum going back to his early days when he was trained by Sir Henry Cecil and his recent C&D success came under Tom Queally from a 5lbs lower mark. Frankel’s former jockey is not in the plate this evening with Poppy Bridgewater taking over and, if in the same mood as he was last month, he will be tough to beat despite a poor draw in stall ten – of 11.
Phoenix Star was constantly denied a run at Chelmsford last time and it is best to put a line through the form. Whether he would have finished in front of True Belief (8.00) is up for debate, however, although I think the Stuart Williams-trained top-weight will confirm the form despite being 1lb worse off.
True Belief has only won one of 14 starts, but he has been a model of consistency of late and had to make his challenge out wide last time. The hope is that Jack Mitchell can get his mount into a decent position from what looks a good draw in stall five.
At Southwell earlier in the day Charlie D makes his fibresand debut for Tom Dascombe and should be noted for a market move but the vote goes to course specialist Tynecastle Park (3.25) who was no match for the well-handicapped Padleyourowncanoe over today’s C&D last week but will be unlucky to bump into one so well treated in this small field. Gang Warfare has been largely out of sorts over timber of late, but he is well treated on the best of his fibresand form.
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