CONDITIONS are going to be testing all over today, and that means that the Betting.Bet Eider Chase at Newcastle is probably going to be more a test of courage and stamina more than it will be a test of pace and speed.

You are going to have to stay the near four-and-a-quarter-mile trip, and you are going to have to handle testing conditions, and, if you have already proven that you can handle testing conditions at Newcastle, so much the better.

Fenland Tiger has a lot of the attributes that you are looking for. A dual winner over two miles and seven and a half furlongs on soft ground over hurdles last season, Sam England’s horse got off the mark on his first attempt over fences this season when he just got up to get the best of a three-way go to the line in a three-and-a-quarter-mile novices’ handicap chase at Carlisle in October on soft ground.

He has run three times since, and he has won twice. He was impressive in winning another three-and-a-quarter-mile chase at Doncaster in early January, and he stayed on strongly last time to win a handicap chase over almost three miles on soft ground at Newcastle.

He just got the better of Prince Des Fichaux that day, he battled on well against the inside rail to get up close home, but it always looked like he was going to get there, and the pair of them finished miles clear of their rivals.


A 6lb hike was not harsh for that win, and it was only his fourth run over fences, his third win, so he has bundles of potential for progression. We don’t know that he will stay this extreme distance, but there is plenty of stamina in his pedigree, and he races over three and a quarter miles as if he will get further.

He goes well on soft and heavy ground, and, importantly, he is proven at Newcastle, and on testing ground at Newcastle. He has run there three times and he has won there twice, he is two for two over obstacles, both wins gained on soft or heavy ground.

He does have five and a half lengths to make up on Anglers Crag from their running at Carlisle in December, and Anglers Crag is a big danger, but he is 7lb better off with Brian Ellison’s horse, and he has at least as much scope for progression as him, probably a little more, as a younger horse with less experience.

Cruz Control could be a big player if he stays, but he has never been beyond two and a half miles in his life, this is a massive step up in trip and, Fenland Tiger is a more palatable betting proposition.

Coral Trophy

It’s going to be unusual to see the Coral Trophy at Kempton run on soft ground, heavy in places. The last eight renewals have all been run on good or good to soft ground, so different attributes are going to be required today compared to the attributes that you thought you were looking for when you were looking at the race through a long lens.

Flegmatik loves Kempton and he was impressive in beating the progressive Chianti Classico over the course and distance last time, and a 3lb hike was not harsh, but soft ground is a worry.

Forward Plan did really well to get as close as he did in the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster last time, coming from the rear in a race in which the winner Annual Invictus made all the running, and in which three of the first four home raced prominently from early, and just going down by a nose. A 4lb hike was reasonable but, again, soft ground is a worry.

The ground is a worry too for Lord Baddesley. Chris Gordon’s horse was ridden patiently by Rex Dingle last time in the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase at Newbury, delivered late to get to within just over a length of Inch House. That was the longest trip over which he had ever raced, two miles and six and a half furlongs, and there is every chance that he will get three miles all right, and he seemed to enjoy being ridden patiently last time. But, again, the ground is a worry.


The distance is an unknown for Il Ridoto, but the ground is not. Paul Nicholls’ horse is usually seen at Cheltenham these days, and he ran big races in the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November and in the December Gold Cup, just giving best to Fugitif, and he kept on well last time to finish third in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham’s January meeting.

A winner over two miles on his second run in Britain, the step up to three miles today is a step into the unknown, but his forward-going style of racing should be well-suited to Kempton and, despite his good form at Cheltenham, it may be that he will be seen to even better effect back on a flat track. He is one for one at Newbury.

He goes well on soft ground too, and it is easy to see him travelling well for much of the race in a prominent position. At the price, it is worthwhile taking a chance on his stamina.


Fenland Tiger, 2.08 Newcastle, 11/2 (generally), 1 point win

Il Ridoto, 3.37 Kempton, 8/1 (generally), 1 point win