Another festive feast of racing with great action from Chepstow and Kempton – here are Nick Luck’s fancies.


PINK LEGEND is a fair bet in Chepstow’s TV opener on Monday (1.05pm). She did quite well in mares races last year, but looked to take it to a new level on her final start of the campaign in first time cheekpieces. That improvement continued at Ascot this time round, and you can forget Aintree, when she was hampered at the start and never got going. If back on an even keel, she can resume winning ways here for a yard in red hot form at 13/2.

IROKO looks of significant interest on his British debut for Oliver Greenall in the Finale Juvenile (1.40pm). His Auteuil form looks particularly good, with winner (a smartly bred sort out of Une Artiste) and third having won a further three times in top company since. Clearly this is a tough introduction, but this relative test of stamina will suit and he looks a very good prospect at 20/1.

FLASHJACK (9/1) is an old boy now, but might still have a nice race in him (2.10pm). Third on his seasonal debut behind today’s rival Take Your Time, the softer ground and weight pull could easily see him reverse the form. His stable is quietly in pretty decent form and this veteran is looking attractively handicapped on form from two seasons back, despite not having deteriorated that markedly.

POTTERS CORNER looks the best value of the four previous winners of the Welsh National and should be backed each-way at 16/1 accordingly (2.50pm). Although Native River keeps the selection out of the handicap, he nonetheless races off a lower mark than his winning effort in this two years ago (strong edition of the race). Having tumbled down the weights, there was a huge sign of a revival when his mark was not endangered in the Cross Country at Cheltenham last time. Clearly Secret Reprieve has another huge chance, but the market reflects that.


DO YOUR JOB can give Edwardstone a race in the Wayward Lad at Kempton (1.20pm) at 11/2. This is the third time they have met this season, but one or other has failed to complete in both starts, so the margin between them is inconclusive. What is not, however, is that the selection was going just as well as the winner when coming down rather unluckily at Sandown, and is almost certainly not so inferior as official ratings now suggest. In addition, the ground might just have gone against the favourite.

CODED MESSAGE can win the mares’ handicap hurdle (1.55pm). She bolted up in this race two years ago, and ran really well under this rider last year when time would tell she faced an impossible task behind Molly Olly’s Wishes. Her reappearance at Ascot was creditable, and she now races off a stone lower than last year. The rain will only have helped her chance at 7/2.

SKY PIRATE is a sporting selection at 14/1 to puncture some notable reputations in the Desert Orchid (2.30pm). This takes a bit of a leap of the imagination, but it is hard to steam into Shishkin after the mixed vibes about his preparation, while Greaneteen is an admirable and high-class horse, but ran a huge race at Sandown and it is a big ask to back up on a very different track. The selection, by contrast, normally needs a couple of spins to get him to concert pitch, looks to have improved again since last year and won’t have any issues travelling at pace round here.

CAP DU NORD must have an outstanding chance of winning the three mile handicap (3.10pm) at 4/1. Second in this last year, he was most unlucky to run into a thrown-in Royale Pagaille, There are no such landmines this time, he is racing off a comparable mark with a good claimer aboard, and showed distinct signs at Wincanton last time that his turn was not too far away.