A field of fifteen have been declared for Kempton’s Betdaq Handicap Chase on Saturday with the market headed by Harry Fry’s Acting Lass (4/1 with BetVictor) following the defection at the overnight stage of Nicky Henderson’s Gold Present.
I hope my two against the field will put on a show as Tintern Theatre (7/1 at BetVictor) and Theatre Territory (14s at BetVictor) both look to have excellent each way prospects.
The ground is described as good to soft ahead of Friday’s jumps card at Warwick and Henderson’s Indian Hawk was a non-stayer over three miles last time and drops back in trip on better ground this afternoon. Lygon Rock has been beaten a length in his last couple of starts and deserves to get his head in front but Lisdoonvarna Lad (1.50) drops back in grade and steps up in trip having finished third beaten ten lengths by the promising First Flow in a Haydock Grade 2 last time.
It is interesting that Wayne Hutchinson rides the penalised Jaboticaba – who is entered in the Triumph – over stablemate Doctor Bartolo (2.25) in the juvenile hurdle. It is hard to assess what the former achieved when winning at Cagnes on soft ground back in December and I am prepared to take him on with the other Alan King runner who jumped and travelled well at Newbury last time if a little keen.
If he learns to settle, I feel Doctor Bartolo – who holds an entry in the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham next month – can take this and book his Festival place.
Ruby Yeats (3.00) steps up in trip to 3m having finished a running on second at Taunton last time over 2m 2f when she jumped consistently out to her left. The selection is bred to appreciate today’s additional trip and she gets a narrow vote back against her own sex.
Coo Star Sivola (4.15) steps up to three miles for the first time at Exeter, having been taken wide throughout in a competitive Cheltenham handicap (2m 5f) last time. I am convinced the horse is better than he has shown so far over fences although confidence is tempered by the fact he has yet to race going right-handed. The six-year-old holds an entry in the JLT Novice Chase and the Ultima Handicap on the opening day of the Festival next month.
Robert’s Star looks to be coming to hand last time and if the ground continues to dry out he must go close in the opening handicap hurdle for Mark Bradstock with Aidan Coleman taking over in the saddle for the first time. A market move would be worth noting.
Motueka (2.00) was only beaten a neck, however, on good ground at Worcester back in October and I feel he may have been let in lightly on his handicap debut for Philip Hobbs. The selection was bogged down on heavy ground last time and Richard Johnson takes over in the saddle on this lightly-raced gelding.
Nicky Henderson’s Polly’s Pursuit (3.40) was beaten less than two lengths at Doncaster last time and the winner (Woolstone One) has subsequently followed up from a 6lbs higher mark. Today’s furlong shorter trip should suit, as should the drying ground.
Rowlestonerendezvu (7.45) should have won a minute at Lingfield last week but was constantly denied a run and I hope she can recoup losses off from the same mark at Wolverhampton this evening. She is due to go up 2lbs in the weights from Saturday, but the concern is this is a furlong shorter trip and she can be slowly into stride. That said she is well drawn this evening and the hope is that Luke Morris gets her into a decent position at the first bend.