William Hill's very own man-in-the-know, Ross Brierley, gives his views on Kempton.
Wednesday evening sees another competitive card at Kempton and another in an admirable series of feature races at the Middlesex venue. 8.20 is the time and it's worth a little over eleven grand to victorious connections.
Eleven entries make this a trappy little event, and the fact that a few of the runners are coming into this race off the back of hurdle runs, both good and bad, further clouds the issue.
The likely market leaders Emerald Wilderness and Robby Bobby met 18 days ago in what was arguably a better race over a mile and a half at Lingfield. Robby Bobby got his head in front that day, but that was more to do with their respective jockeys than anything else.
The Mark Johnston trained runner was sat close to a very modest pace by jockey Greg Fairley and was simply in the right place at the right time to pounce in the straight. Emerald Wilderness, on the other hand, was planted out the back by Richard Hughes as if he was running in a three mile handicap hurdle. He came with a withering run down the outside, but was given a kick far too late by his esteemed jockey and failed by a head. It's no surprise to see Jamie Spencer take over tonight and he should reverse the placings.
Evident Pride was sent off favourite that day and was very disappointing, but it's fair to say he prefers a truly run race and there's no guarantee that he will get it today. He does love it round here, which is always a plus, but he could well find himself struggling as they turn into the straight.
Halla San is interesting given his run in the Northumberland Plate last year, but he's been out of sorts ever since and this is unlikely to be his target, while Grand Passion is a top performer on his day, if you can remember that far back.
John Terry has been disappointing of late, while Maxwil and Alsadaa are relatively unknown qualities at this level on the flat, so the two that are of serious interest are Greylami and Cape Colony.
Greylami looked a progressive individual last year before disappointing at Newmarket when upped to this class on his final start. He is yet to finish out of the first three on polytrack and won here at Kempton on his return to action last year, so clearly goes well fresh. He should go very well under Robert Havlin, but the one who should go closest to winning is CAPE COLONY.
The Richard Hannon trained four year old failed by a nose behind progressive performer Wine n Dine when last seen, clocking a good time in the process. His record over middle distances on polytrack reads 112, and despite going up four pounds for that defeat, he remains a horse to follow on the all-weather and should be able to defy this mark.
While stepping up in class, he is practically running loose with 8-5 on his back, and Hannon's horses remain in form. Drawn in box 6, he is tactically versatile and could be a nice price to win this contest under top lightweight Jimmy Quinn.
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