IF the weather forecasters are to be believed, then we are set to have some decent jumping ground for what seems like the first time this winter.
Kempton stages a cracking card to- morrow, featuring the valuable Betdaq Handicap Chase (3.35pm) over three miles.
The ante-post market was headed by Nicky Henderson’s Gold Present, but he wasn’t declared yesterday after missing another engagement at Ascot last weekend with a bruised foot.
His absence means that Harry Fry’s Acting Lass, who has won all three starts this season, now heads the betting at 7/2 with Ladbrokes.
The seven-year-old is progressive and the step up in trip will suit, but his inability to travel smoothly causes me some concern.
He won at Ascot last month despite not travelling particularly well throughout, which has to be a worry in a competitive field like this.
Master Dee has to come into the reckoning on the back of his second to On Tour at Aintree when last seen in action back in November.
He looks well worth another try at this trip and the handicapper has dropped him a pound in the mean- time.
My concern with him is price related, as I’d like a little bit bigger than 6/1 about one who has been off the track for so long.
Another towards the head of the market is Tintern Theatre who is a definite player if judged on his good win over course and distance at Christmas.
However, he is 4lbs higher now and is also skinny for a horse that has failed to complete three of his last five starts.
Rather than get sucked into the market leaders, I’m prepared to chance my arm on a couple at much bigger prices.
ART MAURESQUE ended up on the floor at the first fence when trying three miles for the first time at Ascot back in November.
However, he would have had his confidence boosted when second to Waiting Patiently at this track last month over a shorter trip, and that one looked mighty useful in the Grade One Ascot Chase last Saturday.
It is hard to be confident about any horse that hasn’t won since October 2016, but that was from this same mark and if he is going to get three miles it will be on this ground at this venue.
With his powerful stable about to hit peak form, I can’t resist having a bit each-way at 14/1 with Coral.
I will also be having a few quid on Charlie Longsdon’s MONBEG CHARMER at 20/1 with Ladbrokes, as he is another who will relish the sound conditions.
He was a good winner at Ludlow back in November and I am pre- pared to forgive him his no show at that same track in December as his stable weren’t firing.
They are back in much better nick now and he can outrun his price from the bottom of the weights after a nice break.
Kempton also stages the last of the recognised Cheltenham trials, kicking off with the Pendil Novices’ Chase (1.50pm).
We’ll know the final field later this morning, but Paul Nicholls’ CYRNAME will be a strong fancy after his excellent run behind Terrefort at Sandown earlier this month.
He is sure to come on for that and the better ground will definitely help him.
His trainer also has an incredible record in the race, winning it seven times in the last decade.
Finally, the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (2.25pm) often throws up a genuine Triumph Hurdle contender and that looks to be Alan King’s REDICEAN this year.
He was no world beater on the Flat, but looks a very smart hurdler and is unbeaten in two starts this season both at Kempton.
The manner in which he has quickened up on both occasions suggests that he could be very useful and I’d be surprised if he got turned over here with his stable on song.
Redicean 2.25pm Kempton
Art Mauresque e/w 3.35pm Kempton
Monbeg Charmer e/w 3.35pm Kempton