The Handicap Chase at Kempton (15:35) is the standout race on Saturday. Formerly the Racing Post Chase and with a roll of honour which includes some big names, the £100,000 prize pot ensures it attracts some quality contenders.
One horse really catches the eye in this race and it is the Paul Nicholls-trained Black Corton, with Bryony Frost on board, who rates a bet at 7/1.
There are a few doubtful stayers in this race especially with the ground currently riding soft but the nine-year-old Black Corton doesn’t have that worry.
He won the three-mile Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase here on King George day back in 2017 on soft and in all his record on soft ground reads three wins and a place from nine starts, so we know he goes on the ground and stays this trip around here on it (has four wins to his name over three miles or further).
And don’t forget, Betfair Sportsbook are offering a free bet of up to £25 for every winner at 3/1 or over during ITV racing on Saturday (free bet matching original stake, max £25).
Another massive plus is that he’s won twice at Kempton and overall his record there reads two wins and a place from four runs at the track. We also know what we’re going to get with this fellow - a big strong run from the front. He jumps well, travels well and I just think he’s going to have a lot of these doubtful stayers at it before they turn for home and I think he comes home in front.
And a further stat is our favour is his record at this time of year; one win and two places from four starts.
A double at Lingfield
Over at Lingfield, Good Effort runs in the and should take plenty of beating. He may not be much of a price at 13/8 but given the way he won here over six furlongs last time when making all, and the fact he has got stall one he’s in the prime position to get out and grab the rail.
Yes, this is over five but the drop in trip shouldn’t be any problem as could be seen when he won over five at Newcastle the time before. Indeed, that proven six-furlong stamina will be a massive asset when he’s rounding the home turn in front as you know he’s going to be staying on well all the way to the line.
Staying at Lingfield, it’s hard to see Bangkok getting beaten in the given the way he won his previous race, beating the track record. Given how conditions on these all-weather courses are more constant than most it takes some doing to break them.
The style in which he did it was also eye catching, showing a real turn of foot to pick the leader up and then put four and a half lengths between them at the post. This horse was once quietly fancied for the Derby and given his profile it wouldn’t surprise me were he to win this on his way to cracks at the big Group 1 races this season.
He’s odds on for a reason but is worth having in a Lingfield double with Good Effort, which pays out at around 5/2.
One for the Eider Chase
Those looking for a bet in the should be looking at the more lightly weighted contenders as this is going to take some getting on the ground.
I’m keen on the chances of Alminar who carries just 10-9. This horse has been staying on like a train over 3m on heavy and soft ground giving the distinct impression he needs a marathon trip on this ground to be seen at his best.
Nigel Hawke knows how to prepare a horse for these marathon contests and it is telling that he’s sending his charge to Newcastle from all the way from down South.