8.25 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m
I can see why the three year old Boarding Party is fancied here. He is one of very few with the slight hope of a bit of improvement. But on what he has shown so far it’s hard to be too euphoric about him either.
What may decide this race is who gets first run. There seems to be a distinct lack of pace in this race. That brings a couple into the equation who have proved to be comfortable on their own in the past. Red Cossack or Charlies Mate for example, as well as Welsh Inlet. None of these is sure to go forward though, for a variety of reasons.
In my mind Welsh Inlet makes most appeal though. He won in soft conditions over 1m at stamina demanding Brighton this year making all. While 7f is his optimum he has proven to get this little bit further too. Which could be vital here. The other two times he won this season he was very prominent as well.
So there are indications enough to suggest that he will be up with the pace if not attempting to make all today from a perfect draw. I’m pretty sure that’ll be a big advantage. From a handicapping point of view Welsh Inlet makes perfect sense as a main contender in this field. He’s rated 60 at the moment and he has won off this mark earlier this year, albeit on turf.
Whether he is quite that good on the All-Weather these days remains to be seen but judged on recent form where he was 68 at Windsor when last seen means he is certainly in excellent form.
Welsh Inlet @ 8/1 VC – 5pts Win
19.55 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f
Really only one horse stands out here: Salient. He’s quite a big price which opens the question whether today is his day. However his record says he can cause an upset alright. He meets ideally conditions here in terms of field size, trip and is down to his last AW winning mark.
His Kempton record is slightly concerning, given Slient is usually an excellent All-Weather horse. But then those poor runs came all over much shorter trips. He was found out for class in a class 4 Handicap at Epsom when last seen but won back in September at Goodwood.
He gets the assistance of talented 7lb claimer Callum Shepperd who has ridden Salient in most of his races this season and won twice on him, including back in May at Lingfield’s All-Weather over 12f off the same mark Salient is on at the moment. Plum draw should suit to go forward.
All depends whether Salient is on a good day – if so he’s going to be a big danger to the short priced favourite Jack Bear, who has fair credentials but doesn’t look like a 2/1 shot at all!
Salient @ 16/1 VC – 5pts Win
20.45 Wolverhampton: Handicap (Class 6), 1m 4f
There is not much depth in this race and that is the reason why San Quentin is such a short favourite. He certainly has the form to land this but has to overcome a career highest mark. He may well do so, as the only other real danger seems to be A Little Bit Dusty, who has form over course and distance.
But what is very much evident in this race: lack of pace. That brings notorious front-runner Amazing Blue Sky into the equation. The 12f trip is his absolut stamina limit, so one has to hope that no surprise comes out and presses for the lead – on paper ABS should have it all to himself and that can often be n advantage at Wolverhampton.
The veteran hasn’t too much in the form book at the moment and the yard is not in any sort of form. It’s a speculative pick, based on the facts of Amazing Blue Sky finding here the perfect conditions today, which means he can be competitive if he’s on a good day.
Amazing Blue Sky @ 16/1 Coral – 5pts Win
8.15 Kempton: Fillies Handicap (Class 4), 7f
Milady could be too good if she stays the trip, which isn’t unlikely, but given the prices I feel fellow three year old Cascading is better value. She has been in excellent form in recent weeks, without getting her head in front. When last seen here at this scene, albeit over 1m, she looked the winner one furlong out, just to get a bit tired and get beaten by a shoulder eventually.
I’m not 100% whether she really has the speed required to win over 7f, but it is worth dropping back and try as despite a revised mark, she could still be well in, particularly in a race like this today, where most appear exposed.
Cascading can race as the bottom weight, and it should help going head to head with her own sex this time too. From a good draw, she should be in the perfect spot when it matters and it’d be disappointing if she isn’t in the money at least, given she finished only once in seven starts on the AW outside the placings.
Cascading @ 13/2 Bet365 – 5pts Win
6.10 Kempton: Maiden Stakes, 12f
Godolphin’s Perche cost a lot of money as a yearling and actually looked a promising sort on his two starts last year, albeit he showed some problems at the start in his final run back then. Back off a break in July, he reared at the gate and lost his race there. Gelded in the meantime, which usually works exceptionally well for sons of New Approach as well as trainer Charlie Appleby, he might be a bit more calm now.
Still lightly raced, he remains with loads of potential, and the 3lb claim of talented apprentice Kevin Scott as well as a good draw are a big bonus today. The step up to 12f is a slight question mark, albeit far from impossible.
Perche @ 9/1 VC – 5pts Win
7.10 Wolverhampton: Nursery (Class 6), 1m 141y
A poor nursery which gives well bred Gameplay a big chance to get off the mark on his nursery debut. He hasn’t shown a lot in three maidens, but the slight step up in trip and the fact that he gets into this race of an opening mark off 60 must give him a big chance.
Add to this that cheekpieces are applied for the first time and his recent gelding op – Mr. Appleby has a tremendous record with geldings first time out – and a price of 9/2 becomes suddenly quite a big one in a race like this. Gameplay could have easily more to offer.
Gameplay @ 9/2 Coral – 5pts Win
Nice 12/1 winner yesterday – Almuheet did the business quite nicely and bounced back to form as hoped. A good follow-up from the winner when Twilight provided me a “bounce back winner” at 10/1 in the big Haydock Sprint. It has been going too well lately, but these two winners are hopefully a sign of better things to come.
6.20 Kempton: Nursery Class 6, 7f
For obvious reasons this is a wide open race. But I feel two horses stand out from the unexposed crowd. Godolphin’s Criminalistic with a good apprentice in the saddle could well be able to exploit his opening mark given his very flashy pedigree as well as good performance in three maidens.
However his draw in combination with the fact that he was very early very badly outpaced the last time makes me believe that he may not encounter an ideal scenario today and might be one to watch and wait until he steps up to 1m.
The second horse I have an eye on is Richard Hannon’s Ice Bond. He didn’t show too much in his maiden starts but steps up to 7f again which should very much suit him on pedigree, much more at least than the sprint trips he’s been racing over recently.
He has a fine pedigree for the All-Weather, suggesting his first start on this surface could see him leaving any turf form behind. His low opening mark gives him every chance to be better, so the booking of a talented 5lb claimer is an additional bonus. On balance he is the one I want to back at a tasty price.
Ice Bond @ 14/1 Coral – 5pts Win