Adam Norman’s racing column

Kempton hosts a cracking card on Saturday featuring the Betbright Handicap Chase over three miles, a race won by some terrific horses down the years including Desert Orchid.

With its proximity to Cheltenham, the race attracts neither the quantity nor the quality that it used to, however a competitive field as been assembled for this year’s renewal.

Only one horse over the age of nine has won in the last 10 years, and it’s not a great race for favourites with only one winning in that time frame.

Double Shuffle looks the most likely to be sent off favourite at this stage and he ticks a lot of boxes, being a progressive seven year old having won over course and distance over Christmas.

He seems to act on any ground, and with his trainer Tom George in great form looks sure to play a part in the finish.

However, a couple at bigger prices also make plenty of appeal starting with Ballykan, from the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard that sent out Ballyandy to win the Betfair Hurdle two weeks ago.

Ballykan has won on soft ground but revels on a sounder surface, and appears to have been laid out for the race. A mark of 140 does not look onerous and if the rain misses Kempton he should go close.

However, should Storm Doris hit the track then Three Muskateers would enter calculations as he loves it when the mud is flying.

Dan Skelton’s youngster got back on track going right-handed when winning impressively at Market Rasen last month, and the handicapper hasn’t taken a high view of the form.

To me he looks on a very competitive rating but the big plus is that he goes over three miles for the first time, which looks sure to bring about more improvement. The softer the ground, the better his chance will be.

Trainer Paul Nicholls – RealTime Images

The Paul Nicholls-trained Capitaine could take some beating in the Dovecote Novices Hurdle earlier on the card, as the five-year-old goes on trial for Cheltenham. Victory here would put him in the mix for the Supreme on the opening day of the Festival.

There is a decent card up at Newcastle where the going is set to be very testing for their feature race of the National Hunt calendar, the Betfred Eider Chase.

It goes without saying that stamina will be a pre-requisite for the four mile contest, where former winners Milborough and Portrait King bid for further glory on Tyneside.

A big weight has been no barrier to success over the years, but while the likes of Straidnahanna and Shotgun Paddy make obvious appeal, the one I prefer further down the list is Alto Des Mottes.

Trainer Henry Hogarth has his small team in good order and his seven-year-old made it two from two at Gosforth Park when winning last time out.

Alto Des Mottes has bottomless reserves of stamina and the ground can’t be deep enough, so confidence is high that the trophy can remain in the north for another year.

Related Posts

This website is strictly for over 18’s. If you do have any concerns about gambling please contact GambleAware
© 2023 The Gambling Times. All rights reserved.