1:15 Coral ‘fail-to-finish’ Free Bets Handicap Chase 2m4f110y
I seem to have been waiting all season for Deyrann De Carjac to tackle a flat track on good ground, and that day has finally arrived. Alan King’s nine-year-old has been far from discredited in a trio of blacktype handicap chases at Cheltenham this winter, but he wants neither a stiff finish nor soft ground, and will be much more at home back on the flat terrain of Sunbury-On-Thames.
This also represents a welcome drop in class for Deyrann De Carjac, who has been contesting some of the warmest handicaps of the season, and has dropped to a mark of 129 having beaten the majority of his rivals in those Cheltenham races. I’m not sure if that constitutes clever placing on King’s behalf, but the result is a career-low mark in this code, and a rare opportunity to tackle ideal conditions, rating him nap material, somewhat belatedly.
1:50 Coral Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m
The Adonis is often billed as a race which will shake up the Triumph Hurdle picture, and that is particularly true when Paul Nicholls decides to launch his best juvenile in this contest, as he did with Zarkandar in 2011. He also landed this with stable debutants Zubayr in 2016 and Solo in 2020, so the fact that he introduces both Pleasant Man and Rubaud is significant. The former was rated 100+ on the flat for Roger Charlton, while Rubaud wasn’t beaten far in a Group 3 at ParisLongchamp in September for Philippe Decouz.
Throw in the fact that the red-hot Venetia Williams also starts The Famous Five – a €250,000 purchase from the stable of Henri-Alex Pantall – shows that the newcomers merit maximum respect.
2:25 Coral Pendil Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) 2m4f110y
An easy race for the stats guys, who will immediately alight on Pic D’Orhy, given Paul Nicholls has won this race an unbelievable 12 times since 2006. Pic D’Orhy has also got the highest rating in the field, but he’s also been beaten five times in seven chase runs, and his big figure comes from a race he didn’t even finish.
I thought his Grade 2 win at Ascot in December was rendered almost meaningless by the dreadful jumping of all his rivals, and when faced with a stiff test in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles last time, he folded like a cheap suit.
It should be countered that Minella Drama also failed to cut any mustard in the Henry VIII at Sandown in December, but that was against specialist two-milers, and he was tried under a change of tactics, which he clearly resented. Other than that, his chase form reads better than that of his main rival, and he proved his stamina for this trip with an authoritative success in the Grade 2 Altcar Novices’ Chase at Haydock last time. The return to a sound surface won’t bother him, and he’s simply a more reliable proposition.
3:00 Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m
It’s possible that connections have found the key to Shallwehaveonemore after he made all to score with ease at Sandown last time, but it cannot go unmentioned that his rivals that day were utterly hopeless. Runner-up Grandeur D’Ame was conceding the winner 6lb and made a series of errors which ruined what little chance he had, and Balkeo, who needed the run for a mark, was unfit.
On the ratings, Gary Moore’s Tolworth fourth should not even be favourite, let alone an even-money shot, and he can only go one way in the market.
That’s not to say that Shallwehaveonemore can’t win, and I suspect he had plenty up his sleeve last time, given the fact that his rivals couldn’t remotely trouble him is hardly his fault. At the prices, however, Aucunrisque has a similar form chance and is a much bigger price. I initially thought he might be even bigger, but this could well be a race with little depth, and Chris Gordon’s charge has been impressive in recent starts.
He is one of three to come here off the back of easy Wincanton wins, but his victory was achieved in a much better relative time than either Frere Darmes or Galore Desassences. This track and ground will suit, and Aucunrisque looks by far the most solid option.
3:37 Coral Trophy Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m
A chance of sorts can be given to all of the 14 runners, and that normally suggests a bookmaker benefit. On the plus side, the pesky bookies are largely laying five places here, and while there are likelier winners, Kitty’s Light appeals at 25/1 with the extra places. Christian Williams had a winner at Sedgefield on Thursday, and was a whisker away from a 509/1 double at Ludlow the previous day, so it’s clear that his Ogmore Farm team are in excellent heart after a stop-start season.
Williams saddles three here, and although Kitty’s Light appears the stable’s neglected, the booking of Brian Hughes is hardly a signal of lost hope.
He will appreciate the return to a sound surface after flopping on soft ground here last time, and he’s now 3lb lower than when beaten a head by Chirico Vallis in the Native River Handicap Chase at Chepstow on his return. He jumped well off the quick ground that day, and while he handles softer, he lacks a bit of scope, and will always be happiest jumping on good or faster ground.
3:15 Vertem Eider Handicap Chase 4m1f56y
The ground may not be as soft as is traditional for this slog, which tends to see very few complete the course, but even if the going allows a few more to get around, it will still be a real test of stamina, and quite a few have questions to answer regarding this proper marathon trip.
The number of winners in this field at trips of three miles and three quarters, or further, is only two, those being Gwencily Berbas and Potters Corner, with the latter winning both the Midlands and Welsh Grand Nationals in his time.
The 12-year-old has a mixed recent record, but ran well when just beaten in a cross-country contest at Cheltenham in December, and shaped better than most despite pulling up in the latest running of the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.
The other of interest to me is Danilo D’Airy, who started life in handicap chases rated just 73, but arrives here after three wins from as many starts over the larger obstacles just the four stone or so higher in the ratings.
He was well held back over hurdles last time, which is no concern, and despite his rapid rise, remains open to improvement granted a thorough test.
Deyrann de Carjac 1:15 Kempton – 3pts win @ 4/1 (general)
Aucunrisque 3:00 Kempton – 1pt e/w @ 9/2 (Bet365, Hills, BetVictor)
Kittys Light 3:37 Kempton – 1pt e/w @ 25/1 (Hills, BetFred – 5 places)
Potters Corner 3:15 Newcastle – 1pt win @ 16/1 (Hills, BetVictor, Ladbrokes
*Rory tipped two winners last week, Fortescue at 12/1 and Good Risk At All at 15/8