Our resident tipster has unearthed five horses to hopefully help us all turn a nice profit this afternoon.
The afternoon feature is undoubtedly the rescheduled Welsh Grand National at Chepstow and I’ve long thought COGRY was the ideal type of the race, for the reasons given here.
But there’s a decent supporting card at the Welsh track as well as competitive action at Kempton for jumps fans to get stuck into, and here’s five horses that will be carrying my cash.
BALLYBANE (12.35 Chepstow)
Won his only start in an Irish point-to-point before joining Rebecca Curtis and then ran well on his stable/bumper debut when finishing third behind Dan Skelton’s Mister Miyagi. The winner has won three more races since, including a a hotly contested maiden hurdle at Cheltenham, and the runner-up William H Bonney has also won since, so that particular form line looks very strong. The selection would have found the good ground against him when making his hurdles debut at Worcester in October, though he was far from disgraced in finishing fourth, and that won’t be a problem this afternoon. His stable looks to have turned the corner after a long spell in the doldrums and loves having winners here, so everything is in place for a big run and the 6lb he receives from the likely favourite Maxanisi could prove decisive.
Back each-way @ 10/1 with bet365
RACING PULSE (2.55 Chepstow)
A stablemate of Ballybane, the seven-year-old has something to prove after cutting little ice on his two chase starts this autumn. However, as mentioned his stable was not firing on all cylinders then and he deserves another chance now the winners are starting to flow again, especially as he looked highly progressive when trained by John Quinn. After coming over from Ireland unbeaten (a point and a bumper), he hacked up by 17 lengths on his hurdles debut at Newcastle before going on to finish third to Aubusson at Cheltenham and second to Seeyouatmidnight at Musselburgh, with both those horses doing plenty to advertise the form since. But chasing was always going to be his game and it’s interesting that Curtis is starting him off in Listed handicap company, suggesting she thinks he’s well treated on a mark of 130. The booking of Jonathan Burke, a rising star amongst Irish jockeys who is making his first visit to the track, clinches the bet.
Back each-way @ 12/1 with Ladbrokes
SAINT RAPH (Chepstow 3.25)
Trainer Robert Walford ended a long losing run when sending out Camping Ground to score in style at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and, like buses, he might not have to wait long for the next winner to turn up. In Saint Raph he has an improving seven-year-old who looks to have plenty going for him here. The French import relished heavy ground when winning a valuable handicap chase at Wincanton last season and his three runs this term suggest he’s ready to go in again when getting his conditions. He found only the progressive Kings Cross too good over 2m4f at Lingfield in early December and it was only a lack of stamina that found him out when returned to that track over an extra half mile later that month. Today’s trip of 2m3f and the prevailing heavy ground are exactly what he needs, and he can make the emotional of the weight he receives from all his rivals under Jamie Moore, whose rides here are showing a level-stakes profit.
Back each-way @ 10/1 bet365
COMEONGINGER (Kempton 12.50)
It’s a case of horses for courses with the Chris Gordon-trained nine-year-old, who has won both his chase starts at the track, making all on each occasion. He finished tired on the last of those in February but he was never in danger of being caught, winning by six lengths, and he’s not at all badly treated this afternoon on just a 6lb higher mark. Have shown nothing on two starts in October, he bounced right back to his best when short headed at Cheltenham last time and would surely have won that day had his rider not lost an iron after jumping the last three lengths clear, causing him to lose valuable momentum. He’s effectively a winner without a penalty then and back at his favourite stomping ground, he must go close. The 2m2f trip is perhaps a little on the short side for him but the soft ground compensates for that and it will take some getting. Hopefully he won’t see another rival after the walk-in start.
Back at 3/1 with William Hill
TARA BRIDGE (Kempton 3.45pm)
For the final bet I’m going to side with another Chris Gordon-trained inmate and why not as the stable is in good nick and has done particularly well at the track – six of Gordon’s 29 runners (21%) here over the last five seasons have obliged and backing all of them would have resulted in a £1 level-stakes profit of £41.43. Hopefully, he’ll be chasing a double by the time this competitive 2m handicap hurdle is run and Tara Bridge looks to have as good a chance as any. The eight-year-old is very lightly-raced for his age with just four starts under his belt and his form figures of 5432 suggest he’s getting better with each run. He stayed 2m6f well when finishing third at Fontwell but showed he has the pace to compete at this trip when finding only Dormouse too good last time. The form looks strong as the winner, who was getting 10lb and reopposes off levels this afternoon, has gone in again since and the ten-length third Eminent Poet has won twice. With that run under his belt and with further improvement likely, the selection must go close.
Back at 4/1 with Betfair
All odds were correct at time of posting.