Cheltenham might be over, but the racing continues with some competitive action at Kempton and Uttoxeter.

Here are Nick Luck’s thoughts.


ESKENDASH (9/1) looks a likely candidate to take the first ITV race from Kempton Park on Saturday (2.05pm). A generally tough and consistent horse with Pam Sly – albeit without a great win record – he has moved to Olly Murphy and has had a breathing operation. That double angle is worth heeding in race full of exposed horses, while he has now come down to a pretty attractive mark, should love the relatively quick ground, and has shown he’s effective at this track.

DIDTHEYLEAVEYOUOUTTO is hardly banker material, but surely this is his day in the Silver Plate (2.40pm) at 11/2. Connections will be thrilled he didn’t get into Cheltenham as that would have frightened the life out of him, but this track and ground (plus a relatively small field) will suit perfectly and if he jumps round (a big ‘if’, granted), he must have an outstanding chance off this mark. James Davies will have schooled him plenty at home, and he comes here at least in good heart after a creditable effort in a jumpers’ bumper.

MELLOW BEN will appreciate the drop in grade in the feature chase (3.15pm) after going off like a scalded cat in the big race at the last meeting here. While I’m a bit concerned that My Way will mess him around in the lead, it is possible that rival will come off worse in that battle and prove slightly less resolute. The selection’s stable is running into a bit of form and this spring ground should suit nicely at 15/2.


I’D BETTER GO NOW is a token choice to win an ordinary looking 0-125 at Uttoxeter (1.50pm) at 8/1. He was quite impressive in this grade in the autumn before he found the undulations against him at Cheltenham and the ground too soft at Taunton when not very strong in the market. His record after his last three beaks of 100 days or more is 111, and I fancy another one here.

ST BARTS has been kept in the right company and can defy a big weight in the novices’ handicap (2.25pm) for Philip Hobbs at 3/1. This trip and ground look spot-on and he hasn’t had a tough season unlike a few of his rivals here. Acey Milan, down in grade, might be the one to give him most to think about.

ROCKADENN can win the valuable hurdle race (3.00pm) for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden at 9/2. A useful horse for the Merienne family in France (including a second in the Victor Ludorum at Haydock), he has improved quite nicely for his new yard judged on his taking the notable scalp of stablemate Pic d’Orhy at Taunton last time. You got the sense he was only just doing enough that day, and the handicapper might not have quite got to grips with him.

SCREAMING COLOURS can be yet another big race winner for Ireland by taking the Midlands National (3.35pm). The key to his chance is that he has improved for every step up in trip, posting a career best effort at Punchestown last time. He is completely unexposed relative to most of these and looks incredibly well treated. If he steps forward again for a further step up in distance, he is a formidable opponent for any of these at 12/1.

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