Just a small field for this year’s Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton but the race certainly has a close-knit feel to it and none of the 6 runners are without a chance. Two of the last three winners of this race have gone on to win the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March and with the Cheltenham sprint chasing crown very much up for grabs this term it would be no huge surprise if that stat turned into three out of four.
Top weight Module may be the second highest rated in the race but his penalty could be as much of a problem as his recent form. He hasn’t really fired at all this season and finished last season with a poor effort too, albeit in a very strong race. There don’t appear to be too many reasons why he should suddenly improve and he could well start this race underpriced.
The highest rated runner and also best in at the weights is Balder Success. He was slightly disappointing in the Tingle Creek given he had his ground but this is a drop in class and even a reproduction of his seasonal debut would be enough to see him in the shake up. This could be a real speed test though and there has to be a suspicion he might just get caught out by one.
That one could well be Hinterland. There seems to be a general consensus that it was a fluke when he finished third in the Tingle Creek last time out, three lengths ahead of Balder Success. He wore a first time hood in that race though so it’s worth giving him a chance to now show some consistency. If able to reproduce his last effort he should win and presuming he isn’t set too much to do he can be Paul Nicholls’ second winner in the race in three years.
Of the remainder Third Intention is another to have taken in the Tingle Creek on his last start but this is likely to be too sharp a test for him whilst Claret Cloak and Special Tiara both come here equally rated by the handicapper. Of that pair Special Tiara could be most interesting. He’s been on the go a long time but has shown a consistent level of form and he may well be able to finish third behind the selection Hinterland and the main danger Balder Success.