Trainer Anthony Honeyball is doing well with his smaller string and he may have unearthed a classy looking novice chaser in the form of Ms Parfois. A winner here at Warwick previously she sets her sights on making it three wins in a row and has every chance of doing so. The only horse I feel could get in her way in this five runner affair is Duel At Dawn. The consistent eight year old hasn’t finished outside of the top three in his last six starts and has every chance of going very close once again. I just feel that the Alex Hales trained runner may have found his limit and is open to the more progressive Ms Parfois. There’s no doubt she’ll need to improve once again but nothing has lead me to believe she won’t and that’s why she’ll get our money today.
MS PARFOIS (WIN)
The first of three races from Kempton see’s us tackle this listed chase where the ever improving Wait Patiently continues to rack up victory after victory with five on the trot now.
This will be one of his biggest tests but after beating the likes of Politilogue and Forest Bihan in the past this test won’t be too overwhelming.
Veterans of the game God’s Own and Smad Place will no doubt have something to say in their attempt to prevent Waiting Patiently from claiming yet another victory but I don’t think they have enough left in the tank to overturn this highly promising seven year old.
WAITING PATIENTLY (WIN)
I must confess that this twelve runner hurdle looks an absolute nightmare to decipher and although I’ve nominated one worth following I’d advise backing any horse in this race with a severe air of caution to all punters.
I’ve opted for a horse at a very attractive price with bookmakers currently offering odds as big as 16/1. To find a Nicky Henderson runner at that price is a rarity let alone one who gets the services of Nico de Boinville to boot. Fly Camp looked a very promising horse last year picking up two wins and two seconds in six outings. He returned to action after a lengthy absence last month and failed to make an impression. I’m hoping this race will see him fitter and his head back in the game for a top yard bang in-form.
Black Ivory has had a profitable term so far but this looks a much more difficult challenge. I’m not saying he can’t win this but despite being the current favourite it’s another I fear more.
No Hassle Hoff has youth on his side and represents the Skelton brothers Harry and Dan. A consistent sort who will relish this trip and ground. The only negative is that the handicapper has been less than kind and being burdened with the second loftiest weight will take its toll.
FLY CAMP (E/W)
One of the biggest betting handicap hurdles outside of any major festival the renowned Lanzarote Handicap is a huge event on the racing calendar and is often a nightmare to find the winner of.
Bags Groove has been a rejuvenated horse this term with back to back victories including a course and distance success in his last outing. Although he continues to rise in weight he continues to surpass expectations and is bound to be in the mix once again this afternoon. At a current double figured price he looks worth siding with once again.
River Frost has been backed in to favouritism with punters siding with the JP McManus green and gold silks. An encouraging fifth placed finish can be surpassed with a big run in this race. Another big player but residing at the top of the weights might be an almighty task to overcome.
Despite falling previously Topofthegame is somewhat of an unknown quantity. This lightly raced six year old looks a very likely improver who can ruffle a few feathers but his trainer Paul Nicholls isn’t firing on all cylinders like he normally does.
At a bigger price Spiritofthegames could have enough to grab a place but this looks a lot tougher than the races he’s been running in previously.
The Nicky Henderson duo also demand a tonne of respect but Bags Groove can leave punters dancing.
BAGS GROOVE (E/W)
Novice hurdlers are given the chance to shine in this Grade 2 hurdle event and as with most novice hurdlers there’s little to no form to go off but it’s hard to see past the favourite. As with the previous race at Warwick I’m opting for the duo of Henderson and de Boinville and their unbeaten runner Mr Whipped. He’s looked sensational in all three of his starts and there’s no question he has a very promising future. Just exactly what he’s beaten in terms of opposition is hard to tell at this stage but it’s hard not to be impressed with what he’s shown so far. This is certainly a step up in level of opponents but I feel he’ll only progress with every step up the ladder he takes. I’d go as far as to say this “if he dominates this field then I’d seriously back him at Cheltenham no matter what race he enters.” I may live to regret such strong words but even the talented Count Meribel may have to play second fiddle once again.
MR WHIPPED (WIN) - NAP
We end our trio of races at Kempton with a competitive looking three mile chase where old battles new. Some well renowned runners in the form of On Tour, Ballyalton and The Young Master put their experience to the test to tackle Fountains Windfall and Ballykan. Although they’re not much younger than their more experienced rivals they’ve not competed at the same level as their counterparts.
Fountains Windfall was a very promising horse but two consecutive falls leaves him difficult to back. The likelihood is if he can overcome the obstacles he’ll go very close to winning but it’s hard to be too confident after finding the deck twice and at such short odds he doesn’t make a great betting prospect.
Of the remaining five runners I’m siding with the other eight year old in the field. The Nigel Twiston-Davies stable have their horses going great guns and Ballykan has been pretty consistent this season without winning. He now resides on a handicap mark lower when he was last successful and this looks an easier task than he’s had in recent months. It’d be no surprise to see him claim a win especially with top jockey Daryl Jacob in the saddle.
Our final race sees a chase that’s often an indicator for the Grand National. Seen by many as a trial for Aintree’s showpiece steeplechase and as such I’m going to be greedy and back two in this one.
When you’re dealing with such a marathon trip and a decent enough sized field you have to be on the look out for value and it’s why I’m avoiding those nearer the front of the market and opting for those at bigger odds.
Milansbar was travelling nicely enough in the Welsh National last time before unfortunately unseating his rider. That race wouldn’t have taken much out of him and it’s worth noting the booking of promising young jockey Bryony Frost. She’s been riding winner after winner for trainer Paul Nicholls so it’s great to see her get the opportunity to test her metal with other yards. I thought Milansbar was primer for a big run last time so I’m hoping he can pick up and put in a good effort here instead.
Indian Castle is somewhat of a veteran chaser and surely has another victory in his old legs before retirement. He’s contested some of the biggest handicap chases in his day and as he continues to plummet down the weights surely has a lively outside chance. If the rain continues to fall it should be beneficial and expect to see the ten year old keep up a steady pace and hopefully outstay his rivals.
The likes of Emperor’s Choice and Cogry deserve honourable mentions but I feel after recent wins the handicapper may have finally got a grip on them both so expect a place effort the best either can realistically expect.
MILANSBAR (E/W) INDIAN CASTLE (E/W)
written by Rory Paddock
HAVE YOU SEEN TODAY’S EXCLUSIVE TIP?