Our racing expert marks your card for Monday's action.
Not a single turf Flat meeting in sight this afternoon as the jumpers take centre stage and the formidable Philip Hobbs-Richard Johnson combo could be key to making a profit out of it all.
They team up in five races at Kempton and it’s the two handicap chasers that are perhaps the most interesting as they are both returning following wind operations, and therefore have the potential to leave their previous efforts well behind.
ROLL THE DOUGH goes in the 3m contest and having become disappointing since winning both his hurdles starts a couple of seasons back, he has seen his handicap mark reduced. He’s now 20lb lower than when first starting life in handicaps and he’s shown more than enough in seven chase starts, not to mention his point-to-point win, to suggest he can take advantage. But clearly something was holding him back previously and, if it was indeed his wind, he might now be ready to fulfil his true potential with the drying ground also in his favour.
Stablemate LONGTOWN could be the answer to the 2m4f contest now that he has had his breathing sorted out. It was clearly bothering him as he wore a tongue-tie on his most recent outing at Chepstow in December and while he finished a well beaten sixth, it wasn’t such a bad run as he was still in with some sort of chance when breasting the fourth-last. A winner of a Warwick maiden hurdle in March 2017, when looking every inch a chaser in the making, his best days are surely ahead of him and I’ll be amazed if he can’t win races off his current mark of 117.
Even the novice hurdles at the Surrey venue look competitive and there is plenty of winning form on show in the 3m contest. While this is stronger than the race he won at Fontwell last time, it’s clear that Hobbs’ REIKERS ISLAND is going the right way and a follow up is on the cards. The winner of an Irish point before changing hands for £60,000, it was impressive how he kept finding for pressure to wear down the favourite close home and the extra three furlongs of today’s race should see him in an even better light. This right-handed track should help him too, given his tendency to jump in that direction, and he is taken to defy his penalty.
All odds were correct at time of posting.