With the meetings at Bangor and Newcastle already called off, we rely on the National Hunt card at Kempton Park and Wolverhampton racing from 5.00 through until 8.00. The feature event comes at the Sunbury-on-Thames track with a £20,000 Graduation Chase over two and a half miles at 3.35.
2.00 – Kempton – This could prove to be a really good starting point for Albert Bridge, a useful handicapper on the flat. However, after breaking my normal rule of supporting an above average newcomer from the level by tipping First Mohican at Doncaster on Thursday, I am loathe to repeat the dose here.
I am prepared to take a chance though on the Jeremy Scott trained BOOGIE IN THE BARN who showed a good engine when landing a fair bumper for the track at Plumpton after his trainer admitted his charge was less than fit enough to do himself justice at Ascot the time before. His debut run behind Deputy Dan now looks quite smart and the son of Milan should relish this test on his first run over timber.
The penalised Strollawaynow may find this a bit too hot following a game win at Exeter, while No Substitute was far from disgraced in a pretty good race at Doncaster last time out and Alan King has surely only kept him training for a good reason.
BET NOW – BOOGIE IN THE BARN
2.30 – Kempton – Even the magical form of Venetia Williams may not enable Lucky Sunny to win a race of this ilk and this looks a pretty good opportunity for ULTRAGOLD with the Colin Tizzard runner finally afforded a chance to run at the minimum trip for the first time since coming over from France. He has been much too keen to do himself justice on his last two starts and off a handicap mark of 121 he will surely play a part in one of the worst class three events I have seen for a while.
Notarfbad at least put his best foot forward against Brick Red last time out, but is a victim of his own consistency and doesn’t have much room to manoeuvre from his current handicap mark.
BET NOW – ULTRAGOLD
5.00 – Wolverhampton – Plenty of pace on in this moderate handicap sprint and although the admirable Sir Geoffrey is still not badly weighted on his very best form, his mark of 71 is about as good as he is nowadays and he is arguably a better animal at Southwell in any case.
IFFRANESIA should have won here two outings back, but she had to come wide around her field and couldn’t quite get to her old advisory Give Us A Belle, would have won in another stride.
Second again, this time to Sir Geoffrey, last time out on the Fibresand surface and has a nice pull in the weights to reverse that form and in any case may have more to fear from Novabridge. The last named seemed to do a bit too much too soon at Lingfield last time out and is possibly a better horse around here.
BET NOW – IFFRANESIA
8.00 – Wolverhampton – Starbotton hasn’t cut much ice in two starts at the track so despite winning cosily at Kempton Park last time out I am going to ignore her claims off her new mark and instead plump for VALE OF CLARA. Peter Niven’s runner was once rated as high as 86, but has plummeted down the weights to a mark of 45 but finally showed a glimmer of form behind the well handicapped Medam.
She came to win her race a furlong out, but just hung into a couple of her rivals before securing third second spot, but this if anything looks slightly easier and she is preferred to the likes of Monsieur Pontaven, Fleetwoodsands and Huzzah. The last named hasn’t won for five years, but has shown bits and pieces of form in the last couple of months.
BET NOW – VALE OF CLARA