Our racing guru is hoping to start the week on a winning note with a trio of Kempton runners.
Kempton stages something far better than your normal Monday fare and three horses in particular catch the eye.
Bookmakers rate Noel Williams’ Authorised Too an odds-on chance in the 2m novices’ hurdle (due off 2.10pm) and the five-year-old has shown enough to suggest he can land one of these after twice finishing runner-up, including at Uttoxeter last time when meeting with some interference on the run-in. However, he took a fall over hurdles in between and is worth taking on at the odds with a certain LEGEND LADY in opposition.
Oliver Sherwood’s mare won a Taunton bumper on her racecourse debut last season and was then far from disgraced when sixth in the Listed bumper run at the Aintree Grand National meeting. She failed to run her race when sent off even money favourite on her hurdles debut at Fakenham in October, finishing fourth of the nine runners, but she’s evidently thought capable of much better. Tom Garner, conditional jockey for the stable, put her up as his horse to follow in a recent interview (she went into my tracker as a result) and she could start justifying that opinion this afternoon in receipt of the handy mares’ allowance.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Stellar Notion has been put in as favourite for the 2m4f handicap chase run later on the card (3.45pm). However, he was very disappointing when well backed on his stable debut at the Newbury Hennessy meeting and while he has won over these fences, that was over a year ago now and from a 6lb lower perch than today’s. On balance, he’s opposable.
Let’s take him on with the Evan Williams-trained BARRAKILLA, who has plenty going for him. The nine-year-old would have needed the run when second behind Balgarry at Taunton on his reappearance and then found two miles too sharp at Sandown on his next start, getting outpaced before staying on well into fourth. This is more his trip and he’s only a 1lb above the mark he was second off in a Grade 3 at Cheltenham last season. A similar effort here would suffice and the 4/1 on offer looks fair.
Dan Skelton is back training plenty of winners after a quiet spell and his DEBDEBDEB looks the most likely winner of the concluding 2m handicap hurdle, though the bookies think so too chalking her up as favourite. The selection, a decent handicapper on the flat with a peak rating of 91, is making her stable debut here after showing considerable promise in three starts when under the care of Donald McCain. The highlight was a hard-fought success in a mares’ race at Catterick and, while she needs to improve on that bare form, the stable has a knack for improving horses switched from other yards and she is almost certainly capable of bettering her current mark of 115.