Today’s Action from Chepstow & Kempton
No shortage of top-notch racing today and the Desert Orchid Chase (1:40 Kempton) is a really interesting contest despite the fact that only five runners are turning up. Balder Succes tops the market at the moment and this is definitely an easier task than the one he faced when fourth at Sandown in the Grade 1 Tingle Creek three weeks ago, beaten 7-lengths behind Dodging Bullets.
Alan King’s charge does have a few lengths to make up on Hinterland but this flatter track placing more of an emphasis on speed, rather than stamina, could well swing things in his favour. Whether he’s worth bothering with at the current quotes is definitely the question and they do look short on the balance of things, whilst better ground may have suited more against some of these.
Hinterland is what he is, and that’s a horse you can’t really trust. There’s no doubting his talent on a going day but he likes to race with the choke out, which does not help, and is prone to bleeding. The prospect of him pulling his chance away is in place and it’s a worry that he seems to come alive around Sandown rather than anywhere else. At 9/4, it’s easy to take a punt against him.
There aren’t many other potential selections as Module seems to be badly out of form this season and he might find this sharp test too difficult to cope with, whilst Third Intention isn’t really classy enough to trouble these and will need others to disappoint badly if he’s to get involved. SPECIAL TIARA (13/2) on recent form has no chance either but on his day he’s clearly capable of showing smart form, evidenced mainly by his Grade 1 novice win at Aintree a couple of years ago. Some of his form in defeat since then hasn’t been a million miles off that, including last year, and two-miles around this track could be absolutely ideal. He could do anything in truth – sublime or horrible – but is just about punt-worthy at the prices.
We’ve got some Grade 1 shortly after with the Future Champions Juvenile Hurdle (1:55 Chepstow) and given the nature of these contests, there aren’t many results that would overly surprise you! Ten unexposed three-year-old’s will be battling it out and the three to concentrate on – Golden Doyen, Karezak & Old Guard – all have form that suggest they’re going to be closely matched. Bristol De Mai is the potential fly in the ointment and could be anything, but it’s hard to weigh up his French form and we’re yet to see him on these shores, so the market will be the most informative aspect with him. KAREZAK (11/4) at this point gets the nod back over the C&D of his sole career win and first-time blinkers should only help.
The Welsh Grand National is up next (2:35 Chepstow) and it’s as viciously competitive as ever with nineteen runners set to take their chance. Shotgun Paddy is fancied by many a shrewd judge but with top-weight of 11st 12lbs on his back, he’s going to have to post a mammoth performance to win this. Is he capable off his mark? Most likely, granted the right circumstances, but whether it’s today has to be debated. Hawkes Point and Monbeg Dude are short enough in the betting, so instead BENVOLIO (12/1) is given a chance to prove that he’s not a huge dog. As with Karezak, he has first-time blinkers and given how often he races lazily, they may be what the doctor ordered. The new trip could be a big help too.
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