A big day at Kempton today live on Channel 4. Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) shares his best bets.
13:45 Lingfield | Channel 4
The all-weather hosts a couple of decent races today and in my opinion this is the best race on the card there. Three top sprinters like up against some established all weather sprinters and we have an intriguing race in prospect.
Muthmir is the favourite for this and deserves to be. He had a great season last year winning the King George Sprint at Goodwood (Take Cover and Move In time second and third) and being placed in the King’s Stand and Prix L’Abbaye.
He makes his all weather debut today and despite not having a pedigree screaming out for the surface Lingfield’s synthetic surface is not as demanding as dirt. However he is yet to win on his seasonal debut and has never run this early in the year before so I’m opposing him here.
Take Cover is a very in and out performer but on his day he is very good. He had a solid record on the all-weather and if he’s on a going day he could run well. However he only won once last season and it was a race that played in to his hands at Dundalk. He may run well but I expect him to struggle.
Of the rest Gamgoom looked like a real speed horse last time out, but the drop in trip and the step up in class will make things harder for him to dominate like that again.
Lightscameraaction has everything in place to run a big race and his race fitness here could give him an edge in this. However I feel he’ll need the market principles to under perform to make the frame here.
The one I like is Move In Time. Trained by David O’Meara he was incredibly progressive two seasons ago and that improvement saw him win the Prix De L’Abbaye in 2014.
He was very consistent last year and he has a good record fresh winning first time out in two of the last three seasons and if he is more forward than his two market rivals he could easily win this. He ran once on the all weather finishing down the field, but he is a much better horse now and I expect him to go very close here.
14:00 Kempton | Channel 4
The Adonis Hurdle is probably the last key Cheltenham trial left to be run for any of the major races and this has produced it’s fair share of Triumph Hurdle winners over the years. This year’s renewal looks good with the top domestic yards represented but unless there is something special lurking around then it looks a battle for second.
Paul Nichols, who has a good group of juvenile hurdlers this season, sends two here both of whom make their hurdle debuts. Zubayr only ran twice on the flat but ran with promise and is definitely of interest now switching codes. The fact he’s making his debut in this tells me he’s well regarded, but I can’t back a horse on NH debut to win this.
His other runner Pilansberg is a lot more experienced and was something of a stayer on the flat. I wonder if 2 miles round Kempton may be a bit on the sharp side him, but he is an interesting prospect and I will keep an eye on him for the future.
St Saviour from the Hobbs yard is unbeaten in two hurdles starts but this represents a significant step up in class. He obviously is a horse of potential but I think he struggle to maintain his unbeaten record.
Nicky Henderson sends another hurdling debutant here in the form of Khezerabad who was a decent middle distance horse on the flat in France. I don’t doubt for a minute he will win races over jumps, I just don’t expect it to be today.
The favourite here Gibralfaro has to me been the stand out juvenile so far and I expect him to make it three out of three here. Though some of his rivals here were better than him on the flat he has found his niche as a hurdler and will be very hard to beat.
His last win against Connectable reads very well and the fact Gibralfaro didn’t fully settle that day tells me there is more to come too. I make him a solid bet for this.
14:35 Kempton | Channel 4
A Grade 2 novice chase but it’s rather short on quantity and quality. We have five runners lining up and none of them look like making the step up to Championship level but it’s still an interesting race none the less.
Cloonacool stepped up on all known hurdles form last time out when winning a handicap chase in good style and comes here in good form. That was only his second chase start and he has scope to improve further. However I’m not sure what he achieved that day, and though this isn’t a vintage renewal I still expect him to fall short here.
The Saint James came from France last season and he was placed in handicaps at Cheltenham and Aintree festivals before running down the field at Punchestown.
He is clearly a talented horse but I’m not sure if he is a chaser. His jumping hasn’t been fluent in either start over fences, and though this is easier than his previous engagement he will need to brush up on his jumping before he gets his head in front over fences.
The one I like here is the Paul Nichols trained Mon Successor. He is the most experienced of all of these over fences and has run some solid races. Last time out he was beaten in a top Cheltenham handicap and the time before that he was an impressive winner of an Ascot handicap.
Though he is not one for maximum faith he should win this and with the stable starting to fire out winners after an indifferent season I can see another decent prize going to Ditcheat.
13:45 Lingfield – Move In Time to win (15/2 Sportingbet)
14:00 Kempton – Gibralfaro to win (11/10 Bet365)
14:35 Kempton – Mon Successor to win (5/2 Betfair)
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