Monday Selections: 19th December 2022

Before talking about more mundane things, such as a 0-70 Handicap at Kempton, I must mention the sublime: Charles Dickens!

South Africa has a new superstar – perhaps the most exciting colt for a long time, indeed. When someone like Mike de Kock says this, you must take note:

 “….the best I’ve seen since our own Horse Chestnut won the Guineas 23 years ago”

I’ve been following the progress of this son of Trippi for a while, and certainly felt ever since his Grade 3 Cape Classic victory he could be something special.

Of course, you hope, but you never can be totally sure whether such bonkers performances are real or simply down to some freak conditions on the day. Well, Charles Dickens followed up in similar style, before going into the Grade 1 Cape Guineas as the heavy odds-on favourite on Saturday.

He delivered in the most incredible way possible, in a strong renewal of the Cape Guineas, left his rivals standing still as he changed gear over two furlongs from home. You won’t see many easier winners in a Grade 1.

Spectacular, sublime, unreal, brilliant, outrageous… take your pick. I struggle to find actual words to properly describe this performance!


2.50 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

This is a rather competitive race for a modest Monday card at Kempton. You can make more or less solid cases for probably half the field. The pace scenario is certainly intriguing. Hard to call what’s going to happen.

Favourite Brains is handicapped to win, no doubt: the handbrake was off last time out, when he wasn’t quite the luckiest, though; same mark today, 9lb lower than his last winning mark and a solid 3lb claimer on board.

Obvious chances, however, quite a short price, one I wouldn’t want to trust with my money in a hot race as this, I must say.

There is solid opposition in Covert Mission, who may be a touch too high in the ratings now, but he loves this course and distance and has the form in the book to go close.

Buick on board of Exciting News, on her All-Weather Handicap debut. She will enjoy this additional furlong today and is dangerous off her rating, but ultimately difficult to gauge.

Lost In Time caught the eye two races back – if this is a muddling affair he’s not out of it; although I prefer to see him over 7 furlongs.

No question, though, the one I am really interested in from a betting point of view is Havana Goldrush. A massive eyecatcher when last seen, he confirmed his excellent form, as I felt the two preceding runs deserved to be upgraded for various reasons.

Last time out at Kempton, then over 7 furlongs, he had to overcome the widest draw, was bumped by a rival as the gates opened, was pushed to the outside as a consequence, and had to regain momentum. He found his stride swiftly, and then travelled strongly in the middle of the field.

Seemingly going best in the home straight, when looming large 2 furlongs from home, he failed to put the race to bed, apparently hanging in the closing stages and possibly paying for the trouble at the beginning of the race.

As touched on, his two runs prior to this most recent October race were noteworthy as well: a strong 3rd place in September at Chelmsford over a mile, when he attempted to make all, and possibly was doing too much too soon. A few weeks earlier he finished third over the same CD, when badly hampered at crucial times of the race.

Those performances indicate Havana Goldrush is holding his form quite well, and is ready to strike, when he gets a clear run.

It’s a slightly easier race today, and get the assistance of apprentice Taylor Fisher, who’s value for his 5lb claim. The downside is a wider than ideal draw, although perhaps less of an issue with only seven other rivals in the race.

Havana Goldrush tends to hang in finishes, he’s clearly a tricky sort. Nonetheless, I feel, even in this competitive Handicap, if he gets a clear run, he’s going to be difficult to beat today.

10pts win – Havana Goldrush @5/1

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