Dundalk seems to become a happy hunting ground these days – Cape Wolfe travelled all over the opposition and won it quite easily in the end. A nice 12/1 winner… much needed! The Ger Lyons inmate is Royal Ascot bound now.
7.40 Kempton: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 3f
The flat season is in full flight, yet we have some really interesting racing on Kempton’s All-Weather tonight. This intriguing Class 3 Handicap for four year olds and older horses appears to be an open enough contest with seven out of the ten runners having previously won at this venue.
The betting suggests Andre Balding’s lightly raced Smiling Stranger is the one to beat and won’t lack fitness after 291 days off the track. He showed some promise in maidens last year, though was found out for class on his handicap debut. Gelded over the winter, he could be one with plenty of improvement to come, given a fair handicap mark. Personally I wouldn’t like to be on him at 5/2 though. Despite all the positives there are also a couple of question marks and such a short price doesn’t represent value in my eyes.
Equally lightly raced Majeed didn’t show any rustiness to land a Chelmsford Handicap in March coming off a 1½ year long break. The five year old had obvious problems in the past but looked big and strong at Chelmsford. He travelled off the pace and had plenty enough to do 2f out but really motored home in impressive style. Only 3lb up, with a very useful 5lb claimer in the saddle today, he looks a major player with further improvement likely to come off a potentially lenient mark.
From the former course winners, Double Discount can’t be ruled out. He’s weighted to be competitive if he is back to his best. Jacob Cats won a CD Handicap in March and on that form must rate a danger. The Gay Cavalier loves it around Kempton and should be a big runner if he can bounce back from his last poor run. All-Weather specialist Troopingthecolour is rated below his last winning mark but has to find back some form. First time cheek-pieces may help him. All of these have plenty of questions to answer, though.
Verdict: I like the favourite’s profile. If Smiling Stranger is fit after the break, he could be hard to beat off a fair mark now as a gelding. But from a value perspective lightly raced Majeed makes more appeal. He’s also on a very fair mark and has the assistance of a very good apprentice, which effectively sees him racing off 2lb lower than when winning at Chelmsford. I was really impressed with that performance and 9/2 looks a big price in this field.
Majeed @ 9/2 Paddy Power – 5pts Win