Some excellent racing on Saturday, with perhaps the performance of the day coming in Ireland where Next Destination ran out a 13L winner at Naas. Trained by Willie Mullins, the gelding finished fourth in the Festival Bumper back in March and was trimmed from 16 to 12/1 with BetVictor for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and from 20s to 14 for the Albert Bartlett.
A decent card at Kempton this afternoon but only two go to post for the Follow @BetVictorRacing on Twitter Novices’ Chase worth £13,000 and there is also a match for the Graduation Chase later in the card.
The BetVictor Golden Goal Novices’ Hurdle is a cracker and I’m looking forward to the hurdling debut of Way Back Then who has his first start since landing a Ludlow Bumper last November for Ben Pauling.
Marginal preference, however, goes to Secret Investor (1.50) a winning pointer for Paul Nicholls who has also been off the track for 12 months. The selection was last seen finishing runner up at Ascot in his first start over timber when he travelled like the best horse for the majority of the race. His subsequent absence from the track is a concern and it is worth noting that Nicholls’ fits his five-year-old with a tongue-tie for the first time this afternoon.
Harry Fry has his string in excellent form and his Bags Groove did us a favour at Aintree last time and an 8lbs rise may not be enough to prevent him following up in the Pertemps Qualifier over 2m 5f. Sumkindofking (2.55) looked like a future star when running away with a Chepstow Bumper on debut, however, and is given one last chance off just 10st this afternoon.
I’ve never been convinced the selection wants a stamina test but Tom George knows his six-year-old and he has run well at Kempton previously. The gelding pulled too hard at Chepstow on his reappearance but, with that run behind him, the hope is that he is more amenable to restraint. If he does settle better this afternoon, he will be tough to beat.
In the BetVictor Proud Supporters of Greatwood Conditional Jockey’s event, King’s Tempest (4.00) looks well weighted for Thomas and Warren Greatrex. The selection has not won since his Bumper debut when trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies but he has run well fresh in the past and first time out might be the time to catch him.
At Carlisle Brio Conte (1.30) make his chase debut for Paul Nicholls and cannot be opposed given he is bred to be a better chaser than hurdler and was rated in the mid 140’s over the smaller obstacles.
Nuts Well (2.35) made an encouraging Chase debut over today’s C&D last month when runner up in a small but select field and can go one better in the Graduation Chase receiving weight from his three rivals.
Tom Scudamore is booked to ride Irish raider Shamilan (3.40) in the Bumper and it should be noted that trainer Ronald O’Leary saddled the winner of this corresponding race two years ago with a well-backed newcomer (Three Ways) who was subsequently sold to Jamie Snowden.
The market should provide valuable clues as to stable expectations but the jockey booking suggests a bold show is expected.
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