Kempton Chase Day Tips - February 23rd 2019
1.15 888Sport Handicap Hurdle (Racing TV)
The action gets under way with a very competitive handicap hurdle over an extended two and a half miles. Erick Le Rouge won over course and distance on Boxing Day and has gone up 5lbs. Regular rider Chester Williams claims 7lbs so his task off top weight is not as daunting as it first appears.
Not That Fuisse came up against last weekend’s Betfair Hurdle winner at Cheltenham in December. He was beaten 11 lengths but came out and won at Taunton next time and is only 4lbs higher. Deebaj has been running well in heavy ground and may not be as effective on this faster surface.
Champagne Champ is an interesting contender, trained by Rod Millman. He has only raced three times over hurdles but is fit from an encouraging run on the flat here last month. That was only his second race back since having wind surgery in September. The fact that Nicky Henderson has entered Burrows Edge for two races at the Cheltenham Festival suggests he is expected to run well here. He was last seen finishing sixth over two miles at Sandown in April after being outpaced in the early stages.
Tip: CHAMPAGNE CHAMP
1.50 888Sport Pendil Novices’ Chase (ITV4)
This race has cut badly which is disappointing with trainers bemoaning the lack of opportunities to get a race in before Cheltenham. It still provides a tricky little contest, even with just the four participants. Harry Fry’s Bags Groove tops the ratings and must concede 5lbs to his rivals. He won at Ffos Las, Wincanton and Huntingdon before struggling in Grade 1 company here on Boxing Day.
The Paul Nicholls bandwagon rolls on and he has a strong chance here with Secret Investor. He is 5lbs better off for 9 lengths with Bags Groove from Wincanton and has since chased home Ok Corral at Warwick over three miles. He made a couple of costly mistakes that day, as he was prone to do over hurdles.
Castafiore sprang a 28-1 surprise in a Grade 2 at Haydock last time when beating Jerrysback by five lengths. Good Man Pat got off the mark at the second attempt over fences in a minor race at Plumpton.
Tip: SECRET INVESTOR
2.25 888Sport Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (ITV4)
This race has frequently provided some late clues to Cheltenham, including Triumph Hurdle winners Mysilv (1994), Katarino (1999), Snow Drop (2000) and Zarkandar (2011). Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have each won the race four times and both are represented on Saturday.
Henderson relies on Fusil Raffles, making his first UK appearance in the familiar Munir and Souede colours. He is entered in both the Triumph and the Fred Winter next month. Nicholls has three entries with the unraced Ecco and Red Force One joined by Deadline Diva. The latter ran freely before falling at the last in the race won by Beat The Judge here at Christmas.
Ecco finished down the field in the German Derby last summer and has since been gelded. Red Force One won three times on the flat for Tom Dascombe and caught the eye when finishing second here on the all-weather recently. Alan King has two last-time-out winners in Praeceps and Giving Glances and Tom George’s Petit Palais made a winning start over hurdles at Ludlow.
Tip: RED FORCE ONE
3.00 Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (ITV4)
Angels Breath is one of the most hyped novices in training and will almost certainly start odds-on favourite here. Nicky Henderson’s grey put up an impressive debut over hurdles when beating Danny Kirwan and Seddon at Ascot in December.
Scarlet Dragon has won five times on the flat where he has been rated as high as 109. He is still a useful performer on the level and was third to Winter Derby favourite Wissahickon in December. He returned to hurdling with a comfortable victory at Huntingdon and is certainly good enough to expose any flaws in the favourite.
Southfield Stone was third to Elixir De Nutz and Grand Sancy at Sandown in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle. That form has been boosted by the runner-up since. Rouge Vif was second to Mister Fisher here on Boxing Day before making hard work of landing the odds at Newcastle. Henderson’s Daphne Du Clos has ground to make up on Scarlet Dragon from Huntingdon but should improve for the outing.
Tip: SCARLET DRAGON
3.35 888Sport Handicap Chase (ITV4)
The feature race of the day is the £100,000 888Sport Handicap Chase, formerly known as the Racing Post Chase. All eyes will be on Glen Rocco, a very impressive course and distance winner here in January. The chestnut had stormed home into second place over two and a half miles here behind Glen Forsa on his previous start. That form looks even better with the winner having beaten Kalashnikov last weekend.
The handicapper had little option but to hit Glen Rocco with a 13lbs rise but he still gets in here with a light weight. He has four Cheltenham entries, although connections have said that they would like to run him in the Topham with a view to running in the Grand National next year.
You cannot rule out anything saddled by Paul Nicholls after last weekend’s winning spree. He has three runners with Adrien Du Pont, Romain De Senam and Modus. A case can be made for each of them, although it is probably significant that Harry Cobden rides the former. Nicky Henderson’s Rather Be is an interesting contender as he tackles three miles for the first time and Alan King’s Talkischeap is a progressive sort. Having confidently put up Glen Rocco here last time, there is no reason to desert him and he is the pick of our Kempton Tips.
Tip: GLEN ROCCO
4.10 888Sport Bet £10 Get £30 Handicap Chase (Racing TV)
This looks another tricky handicap for punters to unravel. Fox Appeal is holding his form well at the age of twelve but may just lack a bit of pace at this distance. Bandsman romped to a 12 lengths victory here in May but has been beaten off a 12lbs higher mark in both subsequent outings.
Conna Cross won over course and distance on his first outing for Johnny Farrelly and has been placed in three of his last four races. The ground may be a bit faster than ideal but he really attacked the fences here on his previous visit. Another Crick is up 7lbs for winning at Newbury but has yet to race beyond two miles.
Tip: CONNA CROSS
4.45 888Sport Standard Open NH Flat Race (Racing TV)
The card is closed out by a bumper, once again with Henderson and Nicholls heavily featured. The Ditcheat hope here is Enrilo, a strong-finishing fourth behind Eden Du Houx at Ascot in December. He must concede 7lbs and upwards to his rivals.
Henderson saddles Chantry House and Sleight Of Hand, ridden by Barry Geraghty and Ned Curtis respectively. The former is a winning point-to-pointer while Sleight Of Hand went into a few notebooks after staying on nicely in a Wincanton bumper on Boxing Day. Faire Part Sivola won on his debut impressively at Wincanton and the 7lbs claim of his rider means he receives 16lbs from that rival. Alan King’s Madiba Passion is another with winning form between the flags.
Tip: FAIRE PART SIVOLA