Our attention turns back to Kempton Park this afternoon, with Eider Chase at Newcastle in tow. There’s a number of short priced favourites to contend with, especially later in the card at Kempton with some potentially tidy horses on show – Champ on paper and the story around him the most obvious of these. I’m keen on three horses in the big races of the day, two at double figure prices and one that is definitely overpriced from his previous run at Kempton.
We’ll start at 2 45 Newcastle with their feature the Eider Chase, a 4M slog worth over 50K to the winner. Last years runner up Shotgun Paddy heads the market and will be looking to go one better. Mountainous is our selection and available at 12s (time of writing) I’d like to think he still has one big run in him. It was a slow start to the campaign to say the least – being pulled up at Sandown and then in the Welsh National – before better efforts at Warwick and Hereford most recently. The Hereford run was particularly eye catching and off a mere 133 again the handicapper has given him a chance. He’ll run all day if in the mood and the more of a big it is at Newcastle the better. It’s obviously an open race but that leaves you plenty of value to be snapped up. The 12YO might be in last chance saloon but the signs are just there that he could well head out in one more blaze of glory.
The 3 00 at Kempton pits many of the games top trainers against one another with some Cheltenham hopefuls hoping to seal their ticket for three weeks time in various novice races. Capitaine heads the market for Paul Nicholls, but I couldn’t back him with a free bet, let alone at that price. The Tolworth form has been very shaky and I can’t help but think his reputationhas lifted him to the top of the prices as is the case so often in these graded novice hurdles. Elgin is our pick and at 4/1 demonstrates great value in an 8 horse race, with two no hopers. It’s impossible to knock any of his recent runs, even the 9L loss to Neon Wolf. He was mightily impressive here on Boxing Day and in similar conditions today if reproducing that he will be too good to get past.
The 3 35 hands us another valuable big field handicap and again I’ve sided with a 12/1 shot, this time the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Ballykan. He has had a quiet few months off the track, and you can’t help but think this must have been the target for some time. Good ground brings out the best in him and he ran a blinder in this race last year, finishing fourth as a novice. Willy Twiston-Davies has been firing in the winners on the Saturdays from a limited book of ride and has another live round here. He stays 3M no problem and has run well without being spectacular earlier in the season, and as a result the handicapper has even cut him a tiny bit of slack. The run at Market Rasen was particularly strong and racing off 10’12 he’s ready to make an impact in todays feature.