12.15 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile
Agent Of Fortune looks to have a solid chance following up with another victory here, however he’s close to his very best rated and has to deal with a wider than ideal draw.
My ideal of a value chance is Subliminal. He comes with clear risks attached given he’s not the easiest to win. Connections try new headgear – remains to be seen whether that has any positive impact.
On the positive side: there is in my mind clear evidence that Subliminal is better than his current 57 handicap mark if he puts it all together. His last three starts all at Lingfield are perfect illustrations for this. He’s been running into trouble multiple times, not helping himself when usually leaving the stalls a tick slowly.
I feel a fair case can be made that when 3rd in November over this course and distance that he came with a winning run down the stretch if not for being a clear run denied on the inside rail. His latest 10/10 finish behind Agent Of Fortune can be upgraded also due to the fact of the suicidal pace Subliminal set and still got as far as he did actually.
A smaller field, a decent draw and no other horse in this field seemingly well handicapped, this is the chance for Subliminal to shine. He’s ran to 60 and 62 topspeeds in 2019 on the All-Weather, so clearly any visual evidence is backed up by the numbers that he is a better horse than what his win record portrays.
10pts win – Subliminal @ 7/1 MB
1.30 Kempton: Class 3 Handicap Chase, 2m4½f
Dipping my toe into unusual territory at this time of the year. But I feel Paul Nicholls’ Sao is supremely well handicapped and should be hard to beat here – if the handbrake is off.
This lightly raced 6-year-old hasn’t won in Britain yet, although showed promise a few times already and looks ready for an interesting campaign. Evidence of his latest run prove a couple of things: Sao wintered well and doesn’t appear to have any breathing issues.
That last race here at Kempton over 2.5f shorter back in November was his first after a summer break and he travelled and jumped well throughout. However he also was hampered by fallers and lose horses twice in the middle of the race, seeing him trailing the field.
Sao made up nice ground and after a pretty light ride by Harry Cobden finished strongly and seemingly with plenty in the tank after jumping the last.
A 123 handicap mark appears certainly low given potential improvement rather likely to come from this half-brother of Frodon. The additional furlongs are unlikely to bother Sao, however he appeared plenty keen the last time over shorter. So there is a light risk as well as the ground which may not quite be soft enough.
Nonetheless Sao appears an outstanding chance in this field in my book if he puts everything together and gets a clear run.
10pts win – Sao @ 9/2 MB