Kempton

Day two of Kempton’s King George meeting and only five go to post for the two feature events the Grade 2 Wayward Lad Novice Chase and the Desert Orchid Chase again over the minimum trip.

The highest-rated jumps horse in training Altior (2.30) cannot be opposed in the latter having extended his unbeaten record to 15 when landing the Tingle Creek at Sandown last month. The Nicky Henderson-trained chaser is ½ with BetVictor to retain his Champion Chase crown at Cheltenham in March.

We said a similar thing about the vanquished Buveur D’Air of course yesterday when stablemate Verdana Blue (20/1 for the Champion Hurdle) upset the odds on the champions although Buveur D’Air is likely to be a different proposition back at Cheltenham.

Only Summerville Boy has beaten Kalashnikov (1.20) in eight career starts including in the Supreme Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham back in March. The selection is 2:2 over fences – both left-handed – but receives 5lbs from his main rival Dynamite Dollars who is penalised for winning the G1 Henry VIII Novice Chase earlier in the month. The mare Maria’s Benefit also carries a 5lbs penalty and she will ensure that the race is run at a proper gallop. Kalashnikov is 8/13 and can maintain his unbeaten chase record.

I’m looking forward to the British debut of the Frankel filly Deadline Diva (12.50) who landed the odds on her hurdles debut in a moderate race in the French provinces having won two of her three races on the level previously. Trainer Paul Nicholls saddled the winner of this race three times between 2011-13 including in these colours with Vicenzo Mio in 2013.

The 3m Handicap Chase is a belter and Springtown Lake is worth more than a second glance stepped up to 3m for the first time for Oliver Sherwood. The vote, however, goes to another novice and Just A Sting (3.05) gets the vote for Harry Fry chasing his hat-trick having won at Uttoxeter and Exeter so far this term. The selection is 7/2 and I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a big race.

Tips:

Deadline Diva (12.50)

Kalashnikov (1.20)

Altior (2.30)

Just A Sting (3.05)

Chepstow

The big betting race of the day is the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow on ground that is officially described as soft but perhaps will not ride as slow as is sometimes the case in south Wales. The mare Rons Dream is 16/1 but she has never tried a marathon trip over fences and has often hinted that she might appreciate such a test.

Peter Bowen’s mare found 2m 4f a shade too sharp at Carlisle last time and must run well but Looksnowtlikebrian (2.50) gets the each way vote for local trainer Tim Vaughan. The selection has won four of his last five starts over fences and, if he can iron out the jumping errors which blighted his win at Carlisle last time, he must run a big race. The selection is 16/1 with BetVictor who are betting 5 places on the race.

Yalltari has been raised 7lbs for finishing second over C&D last time but I wonder whether the ground will be deep enough for the Venetia Williams’ trained seven-year-old. Marginal preference is for Coningsby (3.25) who deserves a change of luck having ran out at Carlisle on his reappearance before slithering on landing at Sandown last time.

Tips:

Looksnowtlikebrian (2.50)

Coningsby (3.25)

King George Meeting

Wetherby

At Wetherby, Jonjo O’Neill Jnr takes a valuable 5lbs off the back of Eclat De Star (12.35) who looked in need of the experience when failing to land a gamble at Sedgefield on his British/hurdles debut.

Socksy (2.45) is a mare who I feel can win over the larger obstacles and jumped better than she had on some occasions last term when runner up at Sedgefield on her reappearance. If she fences with the same alacrity this afternoon she can defy a 1lb rise in the weights.

Tips:

Eclat De Star (12.35) 

Socksy (2.45)

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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