The Duke’s Weekend Preview

Warwick and Kempton are on the agenda this Saturday and we’ll firstly take a look at the Betfred Classic Chase at the Midlands venue.

I remember being there last year when the track was really testing for this contest and it looks like it could be pretty stamina sapping this time around too.

Goodtoknow was a good second in this race last year but it’s hard to have much confidence in him after two poor efforts so far this season. He’s got the ability, but the form is a worry. Kerry Lee may actually have a decent chance with her other runner Russe Blanc. He won the race two years ago off a higher mark, so on old ability he has to be considered. Emperor’s Choice should enjoy the trip and ground, having won the Welsh National on heavy going in 2014. He’s got a squeak of a chance.

The two I am most interested in are Cresswell Breeze and Indian Castle. The former won on his seasonal reappearance at Fontwell and looked good at Sandown over 3m5f against a competitive field. At around 9/1 Cresswell Breeze is the first of the picks. Indian Castle is also worth including on the betting slip. He is on a ridiculously good mark and there may not be a better opportunity for him to win. While I’m sure the yard will have one eye on Cheltenham Festival, this could be the day it pays to follow him.

Over at Kempton, the Lanzarote Hurdle looks a beast to crack.

Bags Groove is in good form, winning twice in a row. As such, he’s risen nearly a stone in the weights and that might make things a bit tougher here. Spiritofthegames won last time out but this is a good deal trickier. Topofthegame is respected from the top yard of Paul Nicholls. The trainer has won the race three times, including last year and his only runner in this year’s renewal has bags of potential.

William Henry must be in contention reverting back to hurdles after pulling up on his chase debut. He’d probably prefer slightly quicker ground though. Diese Des Bieffes is totally unexposed for Nicky Henderson and comes in to the equation, especially as the trainer will want a big winner on his wedding day! However, there’s another I prefer more from Alan King’s yard.

River Frost has to be backed. He’s 2-2 at Kempton and was not asked too many questions at Chepstow in October. The fact that the handicapper put him up 3lbs for a 5th place finish shows how wary he is of being made to look a mug! I honestly don’t think it will be enough to stop River Frost from winning this. Get on.

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