There’s a trainers’ showdown at Kempton on Sunday as Nicky Henderson and Gary Moore go head to head in the two Grade 2 contests, both over fences and both over two miles.
Desert Orchid Chase
The season’s most heart-warming story so far has arguably been the return to form of Sprinter Sacre, but it’s been a season of comebacks and SIRE DE GRUGY proved himself to be no spent force either with a fine win in the Tingle Creek last time out.
Moore’s stable star is probably the better bet today given the pair’s respective odds as Sire De Grugy will find the ground more to his liking. Sprinter Sacre also needs to prove he can string together back to back performances following the heart problems that threaten to cut short his stellar career.
|Sire De Grugy (win)||2.00 Kempton||10/3||Bet365, BetVictor|
Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase
Moore may also have the better of Henderson in the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase, where his charge again represents the value.
AR MAD has proved himself a formidable young chaser over the minimum trip already mainly due to his impeccable jumping. It seems he has to go right handed, so the track should suit and he has a chance to put Vaniteux under pressure early in the contest. Hopefully, a spring heeled Ar Mad will be hard to peg back.
Arzal isn’t out of it either and with Douvan having hacked up in Ireland yesterday this race should tell us who our best challenger for the Arkle might prove to be.
|Ar Mad (win)||1.25 Kempton||3/1||Bet365|
William Hill Handicap Chase
The best betting heat at Kempton is the William Hill Handicap Chase that follows the two Grade 2’s and those at the head of the market look set to dominate.
Howlongisafoot is a threat, as is Ned Stark if he can bounce back to his best, but we are going to take a chance with THE LAST SAMURAI in the hope that he doesn’t hit too many of his usual flat spots.
He may improve for the change of yard, as many horses too, and the form of his comeback race at Newcastle recently couldn’t be working out much better.
The other one to be on is BALLYHEIGUE BAY for whom the slight drop back in trip should really help as he ran well for a long way over further at Sandown on his comeback recently before his stamina gave out.
|The Last Samurai (ew)||2.35 Kempton||13/2||Bet365, BetVictor|
|Ballyheigue Bay (ew)||2.35 Kempton||10/1||Bet365, BetVictor, William Hill|
William Hill Winter Festival Juvenile Hurdle
The other decent bet at Kempton is GIBRALFARO in the opener.
|Gibralfaro (ew)||12.50 Kempton||10/1||Bet365|
Paddy Power ‘So Quick, So Easy iPhone App’ Chase
There’s a cracking card at Leopardstown too where the brilliant Un De Sceaux returns to action. He’s had a few niggling problems which have kept him off the course until now and with the Queen Mother his only aim this season, and with the ground likely to be extremely testing today, this could be the time to take him on.
We aren’t overly keen on Clarcam or Simply Ned (who would probably prefer better ground) so have a few quid each way on the two outsiders instead, FLEMENSTAR and HIDDEN CYCLONE. Both have form over further and so could stay on into at least a place as others cry enough, particularly if the favourite runs his usual race from the front.
|Flemenstar (ew)||1.15 Leopardstown||20/1||Bet365, William Hill|
|Hidden Cyclone (ew)||1.15 Leopardstown||16/1||Bet365, William Hill|
Paddy Power Chase
The Paddy Power Chase is an even more valuable contest and this could also turn into a real slog in the closing stages.
That should suit Heathfield, who looked a real stayer to follow when hacking up in a competitive contest at the Punchestown festival. He had a spin over hurdles recently to get him fit for this and he should relish conditions here.
However, of more interest are two unexposed types near the foot of the weights – Rossvoss and SUMOS NOVIOS – as either could prove far enough ahead of the handicapped to steal the prize. Narrow preference is for the latter who sluiced through the mud to win last time out.
Of those at bigger prices, FOLSOM BLUE is very interesting on his first start for Mouse Morris, whilst we can’t resist a wager on CANTLOW either, despite his lack of a win for over 2 years. He is tumbling down the weights as a result and has run well before on his forays across the Irish Sea.
|Folsom Blue (ew)||2.55 Leopardstown||33/1||Stan James|
|Cantlow (ew)||2.55 Leopardstown||33/1||Bet365, Stan James|
|Sumos Novios (ew)||2.55 Leopardstown||11/1||William Hill|