We’ve a busy day on Saturday with competitive action over the jumps as well as on the all-weather at both Wolverhampton and Lingfield, the latter being where the latest Winter Derby is run.
Kempton hosts a brilliant card with four graded races taking place and we have value bets in two of them, starting with a fine Novices’ event at 1.50:
1.50 Kempton (Pendil Novices’ Chase – Grade 2) – CASTAFIORE
In a race that has cut up badly we’d have considered ourselves lucky to maintain it as a good betting proposition, but my fancy during the week was always the improving Castafiore and he stands his ground at a thoroughly backable general 4/1 going into the weekend and so must be supported.
Charlie Longsdon could do with a winner after what has been a quiet period but it’s hard to even accurately measure the levels of improvement this horse could reach as on each of his three chase starts so far he’s thoroughly left his previous form behind. Likely favourite Bags Groove is the most likely danger to the selection.
2.05 Lingfield (Hever Sprint Stakes – Listed Race) – CORINTHIA KNIGHT
This Corinthia Knight hasn’t exactly set the world alight recently but a close look at his form perhaps reveals that at no stage since winning over course and distance in December has he had ideal racing conditions.
Four runs ago in a handicap here, Archie Watson’s 4yo gelding bounced out and scooted home to record a good performance but has since been tried at Wolverhampton and Kempton where the surfaces arguably didn’t suit. He did race here last time, but over an inadequate six furlongs in a race during which he met nothing but trouble and the same problems can’t be legislated for today.
With a clear run he should have too much for this field, the usual suspects of Encore D’Or and Gorgeous Noora perhaps being the most likely place candidates.
2.35 Lingfield (Class 3 Handicap) – COSMEAPOLITAN
I’d expect that the majority of money in the ring will be for Nick Littmoden’s Fearsome, the five-year-old coming into this looking to land a five-timer.
He has done little but improve recently and won ever so easily last time out over the course and distance but didn’t have much to beat in truth and it has to be said that one way or another his run will come to an end soon and we must be ready to pounce.
Enter Cosmeapolitan of Alan King’s who will have improved of late and now gets a go over the track and trip he seems to like. Having raced here in December the 6yo beat Caspar The Cub comfortably before not really kicking on over a mile-and-a-quarter next time, but over this trip he should put in a career best on the flat which should be enough to win at a fair price.
3.15 Lingfield (Winter Derby – Group 3) – COURT HOUSE (each-way)
I can’t stress enough that we are backing each-way here as, assuming a fair fight, this really should go to John Gosden’s Wissahickon who with natural improvement could even put in a Group 1 sort of performance in this and that’ll be quite something to watch.
The return from Dubai of William Buick to ride his other horse Court House though could be significant and so at the likely odds (14/1 and 16/1 at the time of writing) we can attack this from a couple of angles.
Court House did not show his best when being swept aside by Wissahickon last time in the trial but is improving overall. He looks very definitely the best of the rest in this field and so, even with only two places to fight for, he looks a good price to grab that runner-up spot.
It also means that if Wissahickon does do something wrong or there is trouble in running, the win is very much still an option so at these odds he’s worth a go at small stakes.
3.35 Kempton (Handicap Chase – Grade 3) – GLEN ROCCO
There’s a feeling that Nicky Henderson’s Rather Be should now be ready to show what he can do and as a horse that was sent off favourite for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham over the winter he’s bound to be popular and as such any significant money for him on Saturday should be noted.
He may simply not have as much to give however as Nick Gifford’s Glen Rocco over this trip with the added bonus being that his best form has come recently, over this track and trip and on similar ground so he could take some catching all being well. Talkischeap is another big danger.
6.30 Wolverhampton (Maiden Fillies’ Stakes) – LADY COSETTE
A low grade maiden fillies’ stakes in an evening meeting at Wolverhampton is not usually a race we’d play in but on this occasion, as long as any sort of price holds, it could give us a decent betting opportunity to round off the day.
Lady Cosette, on the balance of her consistent form for Jeremy Noseda last season, should win this race at these weights anyway but the point is that having been campaigned at shorter distances it’s fair to say we haven’t yet seen the very best of her.
After moving to Harry Dunlop’s yard she has been put straight up to a mile-and-a-half at the start of her three-year-old season and on breeding that looks to me like a smart move. Her better runs last year as a juvenile came over a mile or over seven furlongs on a slow track so it seemed even then that she needed a bit of a stamina test to be at her best.
Being by Wootton Basset, who despite his mile form gets plenty of 1m2f types as a stallion, as well as bearing in mind she’s not the classiest and so needs time to get going, this move up in trip could prove to be a shrewd decision.