Kempton racing previews and tips
Saturday's Channel 4 horse racing coverage is from Kempton and can also be viewed right here at williamhill.com through racingTV.
Paul Jones, our Weatherbys' expert tipster , brings you his thoughts on the big TV races and more of the day. With the big meeting just weeks away, you might also like to read Paul's weekly Cheltenham Festival previews.
Remember that all UK and Irish horse racing comes with our Best Odds Guaranteed promise which means that, if you take the price when placing your bet, you will get paid at the SP if it ends up bigger than the price you took.
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I can’t tell you much about The Shoe apart from he is a four-time winner in New Zealand and that Nicky Henderson likes to start decent horses off at Kempton so he has to be respected but his presence makes it a tricky races in which to bet with confidence as we simply don’t have a handle on him. Pause And Clause looks the most likely of those with British racecourse experience having split Mad Max (fourth-favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle) and Shoreacres (fourth in last season’s Festival Bumper) so is clearly a smart horse and one that is also effective on soft ground. He is entered for the ‘Ballymore Properties’ at the Festival over 2m5f so you would also expect more improvement for the step up from 2m3f to 2m5f today. Helpston won in similar conditions at Leicester last time but will be doing well attempting to give weight away all round in this ground.
Big-field novices’ handicap hurdle are not exactly my cup of tea but for those wanting an interest, I would not put you off Bally Conn who has won three of his last five starts but could not be raised for his last handicap win as it was a conditional jockeys’ race so he must go well off the same mark. Abutilon is probably a deal better than he has shown of late but I am not sure this soft ground is what he wants so maybe Thursday’s Night could be the danger having been in corking form when last seen three months ago.
They’ve done a good job of getting this race on especially for Denman’s sake as I am not sure they would have been not too keen to go to Wincanton that close to the Festival and, needless to say, if he is 90% fit he should win. The big questions are however, how will his dodgy heart react now he is in a race and how will he enjoy Kempton’s tight track for being such a big horse? They won’t beat him up of course and it is just a shame there isn’t one more runner for each-way purposes. It could well be that realising this the likes of Joe Lively and Alberta’s Run may want to race him from some way out to test his fitness and see just how hard a race Ruby Walsh wants him to have. The switch to Kempton should not affect Joe Lively who won the Feltham here but he had a hard race at Cheltenham last time at a tasty price when we suggested he was the value of the race in this column two weeks ago. He is tough so whether that affects him as much as it would other horses I am not so sure. I would prefer Albertas Run though as the danger on his King George second as we know he also acts around here and he is the superior horse on ratings plus he gets 5lbs from Joe Lively. An Accordion at last makes his seasonal reappearance and is not uninteresting as has scope for improvement but it is asking a lot on his first run for 11 months at this level. The Pipe yard look to have turned the corner so it will be interesting to see how he fares. I couldn’t contemplate looking at Trabolgan given his injury problems and tame first run back but Madison Du Berlais should not be dismissed having won the Hennessy when every other Pipe horse at the time was running like a drain but are in much better form now.
Lightning Strike was a classy novice hurdler last season only beaten 8 lengths in the Ballymore Properties Novices’ and looks like developing into a very useful novice chaser to boot when he gets his soft ground. I just wonder whether this is his track though as he stays very well and think he may be on the short side given that. Tartak should be ideally suited to the course being an acuurate-jumping front runner and his form would give him a great chance anyway having been placed in three quality novice chases on his last three starts behind Gone To Lunch, Calgary Bay and Will Be Done. Moon Over Miami has had excuses for his last three defeats and is also interesting. Three runs back he burst a blood vessel, the starter ensured he had no hope when second in the Castleford letting them go when he was miles back and then he ran well last time but probably didn’t quite stay 2m5f in testing ground so that would worry me here a little over 2m4f plus he has run two shockers at the track. However, this is an easier race than last time which will help him get home. Osako D’Airy is the Nicholls-Walsh representative but he has not been dropped for two well-beaten efforts off this mark on his last two starts.
It is hard to get away form Pretty Star for the in-form Venetia Williams yard who has won two of his three starts since joining the stable and won with plenty in hand at Ludlow last time out so looks more than capable of defying a 7lbs penalty. Three miles on a flat track looks the key to him. Pass Me A Dime could prove to be the chief threat. The Colin Tizzard-trained ten-year-old doesn’t know how to run a bad race and would be the each-way horse of the race having placed of six of his eight chases. Not over-raced for a ten-year-old, the worry is that he was raised 3lbs for a defeat last time out. Double Dizzy and Chiaro appeal most of the rest.