We start today’s TV action with a decent looking handicap chase from Newbury.
The top weight Rebel Rebellion is a horse that I am a big fan of and is a horse I have earmarked for the big race at Aintree so today’s race certainly isn’t its main target and the two and a half mile trip seems way too short.
The current race favourite is Venetia Williams Pepite Rose who has a course and distance win to its name and after a few lacklustre performances now returns to its last winning handicap mark. The horse has raced in much classier company than the rivals it faces today and has an undoubted chance of taking this.
Of the remaining runners I also like the chances of nine year old Philip Hobbs trained Carrigmorna King. A horse that is reasonably lightly raced this year and as with the favourite also has a course win to its name. Apprentice jockey Michael Nolan takes the ride and the last time it accompanied the horse it was a winning partnership. At a price around 14/1 it seems far too high and looks value for place money.
Pepite Rose (E/W if 9/2+)
Carrigmorna King (E/W)
Our first trip to Kelso on Channel 4 sees ten horses head to post.
The current favourite is Donald McCain’s The Last Samurai who was unlucky not to make it three wins from three when unseating in its previous outing. It’s two previous, winning races were in fields of just two and three runners and despite winning it doesn’t read as great form overall.
Harry The Viking has had two great runs in its last two starts despite not winning and surely carries a threat but at the tender age of ten with an increase in weight I fear it’s going to find a few too good again today.
Knock A Hand has a good chance but it is so inconsistent so after winning last time I couldn’t be certain it will put up just as good a showing today.
This has lead me to one of the younger horses in the race, Malcolm Jeffersons eight year old Sun Cloud did well when winning at Sedgefield last time out and despite an increase in weight is still lightly raced and a step up in trip will also suit.
Sun Cloud (E/W if 9/2+)
We head back to Newbury for a very intriguing novices hurdle where bottom weight Spartan Angel represents the marquee connections of Henderson and Geraghty. The trainer had far from a sparkling Cheltenham and although the horse certainly has capability I couldn’t go with a favourite in a race of this nature.
Unlike Henderson and Geraghty one yard that did have a good four days at Cheltenham were Warren Greatrex and jockey Gavin Sheehan who saddled and rode the World a Hurdle winner Cole Harden. The yard seem to have recaptured their early season form and Hannah’s Princess would certainly have a chance.
The horse that gets the nod is very lightly raced with just three starts under rules is Charlie Longsdon’s Kalane. It’s third placed finish last time out wasn’t that impressive but it’s win over Monbeg Theatre the time before reads very well with the second placed horse winning twice afterwards. The horse has been lightly campaigned and should have more room for improvement than most of its rivals today.
A smaller field awaits us here and in my opinion, for the most part, it looks to be a two horse race. The Jonjo O’Neill favourite Spookydooky has won its last two starts very impressively and if truth be told I’ve backed the horse before. However AP McCoy doesn’t take the ride and although I think Dougie Costello has great ability he has never ridden the horse before and for that reason I have to look for better value.
The other of the two main protagonists is Racing Europe who looks to have the best form on the book. A fourth behind Bygones Sovereign and Run Ructions Run reads very well but as with the favourite it has a jockey on board that has no previous experience with today’s ride.
Although I am very positive that the winner should come from either of those two I think it may be worth taking a chance on an outsider that may have slipped through the net.
The eight year old Samstown may not be the most consistent but the geldings form around Kelso reads better than any of its rivals and knowing the horse will act well at this course counts for a lot. With a course and distance win to its name and at only one pound higher than its last winning mark 16/1 may seem a foolish price come the start of the race.
Good old Carruthers lines up to take it’s chances here and is a horse that never seems to run a bad race. It was my selection for last weeks Midlands National before being withdrawn and you know will be fit for this. The Bradstock yard will be on an all time high after their Gold Cup success and with the horse taking a marked drop in class as well as a slight drop in weight it has to have a great chance but I fear it may just have to make do with place money today.
The current favourite has the outstanding fortune of having The Champ in the saddle. Two decent wins last time out gives Financial Climate a great chance and is likely to be the biggest danger to my selection.
Paul Nicholls has seemed to have a decent time with his handicappers this term and Sin Bin could have more ability than it’s weight suggests. The horse sneaks in with a low weight and if it’s minor jumping errors can be rectified should go well.
Sin Bin (E/W)
Only five go to post but it still remains just as competitive as the rest of today’s action.
At the head of the betting are the two Oscars. Oscar Rock and Oscar Fortune. The latter hails from Jonjo O’Neill’s yard and scored a victory last time out. Despite its success I feel it’ll want even softer ground than it’ll get today and although it has a chance I’m going against it.
The other seven year old in the race Oscar Rock did well to win at Newcastle on it’s previous start and has a second placed finish around Kelso the time before that. Today’s conditions should suit but it’s wether or not it can cope with the six pound rise in weight. The horse is worthy favourite and is likely to be the one to beat.
All this being said however I’m opting for the Kim Bailey runner Gallery Exhibition. The yard are in good form and managed to land a Cheltenham Festival winner with Darna. I must admit the horse can be quite inconsistent but if it is on form it could give the favourite something to think about.
Gallery Exhibition (E/W if 9/2+)
We end today’s coverage with a cracking looking juvenile hurdle.
Despite the competitive nature of the race there is a red hot favourite.
Storm Force Ten clearly has class and hails from the well known Andrew Balding yard but it’s easy to forget he horse is still a maiden over obstacles and surely at a best price of around 7/4 it has to be taken on.
The horse that looks to have the best form on paper is top weight Golden Doyen, with a win over Triumph Hurdle third Hargam and a second behind Top Notch it certainly has the names on it’s résumé and this looks a step down in class. Although the horse is lumbered with the biggest weight it surely has to be in the reckoning and at a decent each way price has to be worth a shout.
Of the remaining runners I’m also going to plump for Alan Kings Gimme Five. A horse that has never finished out of the top three in all of it’s national hunt starts and although it needs to make a step up on it’s previous form it wouldn’t be out of the question from a top stable.
Golden Doyen (E/W)
Gimme Five (E/W)
written by Rory Paddock