On paper this race doesn’t look like it will take a lot of winning. Coming off his break Art Obsession looks to be the one to side with. He has a good draw in stall one and his form suggests he goes well fresh. David Barron is a trainer in a bit of form at the minute having winners with Rozene, Twin Appeal and Newstead Abbey.
He is a lightly raced four-year-old only having had five races. Off a mark of 85 there could still be a lot more to come considering his fitness and his record. The only blot in his record is a 4th at Musselburgh, which was over a mile on good to firm ground; otherwise he hasn’t been out of the first two.
He seems to act on all ground with his debut being run on soft ground, so any more rain wouldn’t be too much of an issue. His last race in September was a win on good to firm, suggesting ground won’t be too much of a problem. In that win he arguably still acted a little green. He was keen early on and hung left in the closing stages but stoutly held on. If he doesn’t do that today then he looks the most likely winner.
Victoire De Lyphar comes from the Ruth Carr yard and she is a trainer who can prepare older horses as she proved on Sunday when ten-year-old Dubai Dynamo won at Ripon. He is a more hard worked horse and has been beaten by a couple of these more recently. He comes into this off a falling mark and his last win came off 87 on soft ground. Today he races off 78 on ground already described as good to soft. Coming from stall three he is likely to be held up to chase the leaders on before being ridden out with a furlong to go.
Regal Dan looks the main danger of the in-form David O’Meara team with stable jockey Daniel Tudhope on board. Two starts this season, both seconds on good to firm ground. Considering he only has one win to his name, back in September 2012, then this is a race he could go close in if repeating that Class 2 win or his first start this season when 2nd in a Class 3 race. Evanescent is a consistent type in this class and is likely to run into a place at least.
Art Obsession (WIN)
A Handicap Hurdle over 3m1f where ten go to post and Grape Tree Flame looks dangerous with Sean Bowen getting the ride for his father Peter. The easing ground with the rain around should arguably suit her but a few of this have raced in better company meaning she needs to show something more. She won at Plumpton on soft ground over this distance with Sean on-board but off a mark of 119. Today she runs off 10lb higher mark due to her 8l success at Chepstow in March over 3m. She seems to be a solid stayer but she can idle and Peter Bowen has said in time she will run in a visor, which doesn’t seem the case today.
David Pipe has a couple of entries. One of them is Taj Badalandabad, who doesn’t look like a stayer and jockey Tom Scudamore in December said he ‘doesn’t’ ride like an out-and-out stayer’, which makes the entry into this race is slightly bemusing but he must be showing some signs of progress. As a five-year-old he could easily go this trip. His other runner Weather Babe runs 15 days ager a good win at Exeter but is 7lb higher and may prefer better ground as wins have come on good and good to firm ground.
The selection would be Jennys Surprise and she is one that it might be worth keeping onside. The Fergal O’Brien mare was 7th in the Grade 2 Mares Hurdle at Ascot, won by Bitofapuzzle, where she was outclassed. However her previous runs before that were wins on soft and heavy ground, so again the rain should help her. She is quite a scopey type and if she runs here could be one at a price to side with for each-way purposes. In this class getting weight from her male counterparts could be very interesting.
Allthegear No Idea looks threatening off a mark of 122 just 4lbs higher for his success over further than today’s trip at Perth where he stayed on well suggesting there is stamina in him and possibly more to come. He should handle rain-softened ground, so one to make a note of in the market prior to placing your bets to see how strong his support is.
Jennys Surprise (E/W if 4/1+)
The final part of the patent comes on the polytrack at Kempton Park. It is hard to look past Sighora with the manner of her victory here in December. That was the last time she was seen and comes back to the scene of her maiden win. Martin Harley gets the leg-up again and after the maiden win in December said she enjoyed the surface. That day she jumped well from the stalls and made all without looking in trouble. A similar performance off just a 3lb higher mark should see this four-year-old, making her handicap debut, go well in a weak looking handicap.
She has raced in some strong maidens. Her 3rd at Newmarket in a fillies maiden looks quite good considering she was behind Hadaatha and Eastern Belle and finished ahead of Etaab. Currently ten runners are declared (Tuesday morning) and the draw bias at Kempton over this distance suggests higher stalls tend to see more winners over this distance. Sighora comes from stall seven and if she gets a good start she can go forward and hopefully get into the lead. On the evidence of her last win she could progress further and in time take a step-up in trip.
The veteran ten-year-old Ocean Legend is in opposition. He has won 13 times on the all-weather surfaces with nine coming here at Kempton with the latest being on April 1st. However that was over the shorter trip at 7f and his recent suggest that could be his optimal trip. He did win over this distance at Brighton nearly a year ago. The win here in April came off a mark of 71 and due to his good form on this surface he is rated higher than he would be on turf. He races here off 77 but the highly-regarded apprentice Edward Greatrex takes 7lb off, which takes him to a workable mark and could see him dangerous, as he is likely to stalk the leaders.
Mutawathea won here last month but doesn’t look like to run for former Godolphin advisor turned trainer Simon Crisford. The race he won Silverheels was 6th in and that was a bunched finished were he was caught by fast finishing horses. He hasn’t won in Britain since March 19 2014, which was over this trip, but his last win came over at Chantilly in October. If there is any value in his price he could be one to back each-way, as he has seems to be bridesmaid with lots of 2nds on his record.
Ian’s Memory wears the first time blinkers and was a good 3rd here in April; in a race Silverheels was 2nd. He is 1lb higher for that effort, which wouldn’t be a worry and in this if replicating that should go close again.