The racing broadcaster has two picks in the Classic Chase, two Mel Rowley runners to keep an eye on, and one at Wolverhampton on the All Weather.
Plenty of action this weekend with eight races on ITV, all of which are over at least 2m 3½f. In terms of actual race times, it is the greatest percentage on any programme all year, so stand by for a busy afternoon.
CLASSIC CHASE (WARWICK)
With the addition of the salvaged Veteran Series Final there are some really competitive handicaps and it is Classic Chase at Warwick (15:00) which seems to provide the best betting opportunities. Having worked through the race at the five-day stage I had narrowed it down to four horses, one of which (Monbeg Genius) was not declared.
MALINA GIRL is a stable tracker horse off the back of her run at Cheltenham where she had made smooth progress before coming down three from home. As it was not at the last two fences, the handicapper can’t move her, even though she looked certain to be involved at the finish. Her stable remains in good form and, despite having to lump top weight, she has class on her side.
The other two shortlisted were Guetapan Collonges and VOLCANO 20/1, who were fourth and fifth last year. Guetapan has made some progress since but has risen in the weights as a result. I backed Volcano, meanwhile, in the week Ted Walsh announced that Any Second Now would not run, and hence the weights would rise enough for him to not be as far out of the handicap as looked likely. Volcano has an excellent Warwick record and this is his first opportunity this season to run off anything like his correct mark. At the time of writing, he is still a 25/1 chance and is a decent each-way bet.
SILVINIACO CONTI CHASE (KEMPTON)
The Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton is the classy race of the day with Edwardstone, stepping up beyond 2m, crossing swords with the likes of Banbridge and last year’s winner Pic D’Orhy. The drying ground should suit Banbridge who is a very nimble type of horse but he has an absence to overcome and it looks a tricky heat.
More straightforward looks the prediction that the yard of Mel Rowley could have a very good day. The family have gradually moved from success in the Point-to-Point sphere to an increasingly effective team under Rules. LATITUDE (Kempton, 13:30) and KYNTARA 11/4 (Warwick, 13:49) both look to have leading chances, while Val Dancer at Wetherby is another who could run well.
Latitude won over course and distance last May and showed the higher mark was not beyond him when second at Ludlow last time. Another who will be suited by the decent ground, he is reunited with Alex Edwards who partnered him to both his victories last campaign. Moroder could go better with his stable in better form than his first two disappointing runs this season.
Kyntara, by contrast, would like attritional conditions in the Pertemps Qualifier. He has won both his starts for his new yard and looks likely to get a pretty soft time on the front end. The home turn at Warwick is quite sharp and a handy position leaving the back straight can be a big advantage in a steadily run race.
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
A couple of days calling on the All Weather have reminded me of the importance of approaching low-grade Classified races in some sort of form, which is the case with THE TRON SP (Wolverhampton, 19:30). His course-and-distance placing last week means, had this race not closed before he was reassessed, he would not have been eligible to run. Derek Shaw is going through a good spell with the outside gate the only real cause for concern.
JOCKEYS FOR COURSES
A full house this week of riders at tracks where they have a particularly good career record, so confidence should be high.
- Kempton – Jack Quinlan (15/87 with an actual/expected ratio of 2.03)
- Warwick – Jonathan Burke (21/122, 1.52 A/E)
- Wetherby – Charlie Hammond (15/68, 1.58 A/E)
- Wolverhampton – Rossa Ryan (120/641, 1.28 A/E)
- Chelmsford – Kevin Stott (34/133, 1.35 A/E)
LATITUDE 9/2 (Kempton, 13:30)
KYNTARA 11/4 (Warwick, 13:49)
MALINA GIRL 11/2 boost (Warwick, 15:00)
VOLCANO (EW) 20/1 (Warwick, 15:00)
As mentioned last week we will be maintaining performance stats on the various strands of the column this year. So far, we have just had the three runners in the stable tracker section which have yielded one 14-1 winner in Sammy’s Guarantee at Doncaster. The benchmark used will be A/E on Exchange SPs in line with the rest of the column.
Stable Tracker results: 1 winner from an expected 0.41 = A/E 2.44
This will settle down quickly with bigger sample sizes, but the objective will be to beat the 1.00 par.