With Cheltenham now behind us, we can start looking ahead to the forthcoming flat season – as well as, hopefully, some better weather! There’s still plenty of life in the jumps campaign however and Seymour Biz has run the rule over Saturday’s action, which includes a terrific card at Kelso. A rejuvenated Paul Nicholls looks capable of making hay, once again.
You can find all recent analysis from Seymour Biz in his weekly Saturday Horse Racing Tips column.
It’s the betwixt and between season as jump racing winds down with just the Grand National meetings at Aintree and Ayr to come. We wait for the flat season to get going in earnest after the false start next week with the Lincoln Meeting at Doncaster. The next big meeting after that is at Newbury a fortnight later with the first of the Derby trials, the Greenham. That said, Kelso holds its biggest meeting of the year and has got some pretty good prize money on offer, making the racing very competitive. This means that most of the top trainers are targeting the races especially as Nicky Henderson has decided not to turn up. He aims his battalions at the other main meeting, Newbury, where we also have some decent handicaps to chew over. I have looked at these two televised meetings and tried to pick out some value from the races for this week’s Lucky 15.
The first race on the card at Newbury is the Insure With Be Wiser Handicap Chase at 2.05. At the head of the betting is Phillip Hobbs’s Strong Pursuit who’s last victory was here at Newbury in November 2017. He has had only one run since then and that was last month at Sandown where he led until three out, he weakened after that and finished third having several of these behind him including Salmanazar and Kansas City Chief. I expect him to frank that form but wonder if he’s still as good, as his best days are now behind him. Stuart Edmunds has Classic Ben in the lineup who landed a big gamble last month at Sandown. He had Chic Name well in arrears that day and I see no reason why Richard Hobson’s gelding should get any closer. Le Reve is on a hat-trick but this is surely too big a step up in class for him. The one I like the look of is Calipso Collonges from Olly Murphy’s stable. Lightly raced this year, he won four times the previous season, he has won one from three. He was second last time at Ludlow beaten 4 lengths but 24 lengths clear of the third. He has the ability to take this so continuing Murphy’s fine season.
The second race on Kelso’s fine card is the Bernhardt Lighting Rig Handicap Hurdle at 2.25. At the head of the weights is Kim Baileys’s First Flow, a triple winner last year he has had only one run this year and finished a fair fifth behind Malaya at Sandown. He will come on for that but may be too high in the handicap. Albert’s Back had his first run for 14 months last month and performed creditably finishing only four lengths second behind Joke Dancer. But I can see that form being franked here. Ted Veale and Aristo Du Plessis finished third and fifth respectively in that race, I fail to see either of those improving on that result. Ingleby Hollow is on a treble after wins at Sedgefield but he would have to improve considerably to figure here. My fancy to trump all these is Winston C who is also on a treble. He has improved race by race this year culminating in a fine win at Sandown at the beginning of February. Harry Fry’s young gelding can make the switch to handicap company and taste victory here.
The Liz Adam Memorial Memorial Handicap Chase at 3.00 has been targeted by Paul Nicholls with Adrienne Du Pont. The 7-year-old has tasted victory once in four start this season, he may find the ground he wants here but he has a lot of weight to carry round this sharp track. Blue Flight from Nigel Twiston-Davies’s yard has been a prolific winner this year including two victories here at Kelso, one of which was a Listed race. He has risen in the weights but is an improving young horse and maybe his youth could be against him. Sue Smith’s Wakanda is the class horse in the field with numerous victories during his long career. He won at Haydock in January then returned last month for the Grand National Trial, pulling up on ground that did not suit. He was reported lame but he seems to have recovered from that and his experience should see him put in a good performance. At a bigger price is Vice Et Vertu from Henry Daly’s stable, this three-miler has won on everything from good to heavy and has a good record on his runs later in the season. He could well be placed at a nice price.
The last of the televised races is at 3.35, the Payton’s Exclusively Kverneland Handicap Hurdle. Again this race is targeted by Paul Nicholls and I really think he has the whip hand here with Worthy Farm. This strong 6-year-old is on a handy mark with two wins this season the latest being at Ascot in February, he can add to his score. Who’s My Jockey won for Phillip Hobbs last time out at Doncaster but appears to want good going. Highland Hunter would be a popular winner for Lucinda Russell, the grey is a course winner but requires heavy going. On his penultimate run he had Teescomponents Lad and Sammy B behind him and he should confirm those placings. Captain Drake from Harry Fry’s yard looks interesting. A winner of his last two races the latest at Southwell where he was left well clear when Tomkevi unshipped his rider at the last, he may well run another good race and be placed at a nice price.
Saturday Lucky 15
2.05 Newbury. Calipso Collonges
2.25 Kelso. Winston C
3.00 Kelso. Wakanda
3.35 Kelso. Worthy Farm