Lucy Wadham's 8yo Le Reve has to go right handed to show his best and duly won at Sandown last time.

BetBright Chase 3m Kempton

Last week’s selection, Broadway Buffalo gave us a great run for our money in that Haydock marathon which was run on dreadful ground in a time 73 seconds slower than standard. He looked the likely winner coming to the last but just couldn’t find the stamina reserves to challenge Bishop’ Road on Haydocks glue like run in. Kerry Lee’s hero must now have serious prospects of getting a run in the National and on soft ground is definitely one to keep in mind.

While only two winners of this Saturday’s Kempton contest, Rhyme n’ Reason (1988) and Rough Quest (1996), have gone on to victory in the Aintree showpiece it’s roll of honour bears witness to some great performances. The immortal Desert Orchid won it in the twilight of his career in 1990 as an 11yo, carrying an eye watering 12st3lbs, and the win of Martin pipe’s oh so promising, but ill fated 6yo, Gloria Victis in 2000 will live long in the memory. (Killed in the same years Gold Cup)

Previously known as the Racing Post Chase it is a contest in which the higher rated animal has been very much to the fore, with eleven winners since 2000 carrying at least 11st. Indeed four top weights have prevailed in the same period. Philip Hobbs with four victories has been the most successful handler, followed by Paul Nicholls who has won it twice. Course form has been especially significant with ten of the last seventeen winners boasting winning course form. Age hasn’t been of great significance with winners coming from all groups between six and twelve, although the 8yo’s have the best record. The race is invariably truly run so non stayers may as well stay at home.

Philip Hobbs’s Champagne West, sustained an injury in the 2015 running of the Scilly Isles chase which kept him off the track for eleven months. He put up an excellent performance on his reappearance at Cheltenham in December, where despite a mistake at the 7th, he stayed on well to finish second to Village Vic, who won next time out. He was travelling nicely, again at Cheltenham four weeks ago, when short of room at the 8th he blundered and was pulled up two fences later. He has never run at Kempton but has plenty of form going right handed and as Grade 1 aspirations at the festival are entertained his mark of 154 on Saturday looks reasonable.

Racing off 2lbs lower than his hurdles mark the Harry Fry trained 7yo novice chaser, Thomas Brown, looks interesting. He made his debut over the larger obstacles at Ascot (2m3f) last November, and going off the hot favourite he duly obliged. He forged clear after two out and eased down he won easily. He ran well again at the same venue (2m5f) four weeks later, finishing second to Le Mercuery, in a race that has worked out well. Stepped up to 3m four weeks ago for his third chase, he demonstrated an abundance of stamina, when despite some indifferent jumping, he stayed on stoutly to win by 10L. This contest has been won by novices in the past, so with Noel Fehilly doing the steering on Saturday it would come as no surprise to see their record added to by this upwardly mobile ” Fry” 7yo.

Last year’s winner Rocky Creek was sent off the 2/1 favourite for a Grade2 chase at Newbury two weeks ago but disappointed, finishing 4th. However it was his first run since being pulled up over the National fences ten weeks earlier, and the outing may well have been needed. He is only 4lbs higher than last year so it would come as no surprise, coming from this yard, to see a much improved horse at the weekend.

Nicholl’s other candidate, the 10yo Ruben Cotter is interesting. Lightly raced with only six starts over fences he obviously has had his problems, but was quite impressive in a 2 1/2m chase over the course last March on his first run for 16 months. Racing off a mark of 132 and starting at odds of 14/1 he stayed on well and won comfortably by 4L. He was sent off 8/1 co fav over the Aintree fences (2m5f) four weeks later and finished a respectable 5th. Stamina won’t be a problem as he has won over 3m2f, so after his 10 month break and racing off a mark of 140 he may just be ready to run a very big race.

Lucy Wadham‘s (pictured above) 8yo Le Reve has to go right handed to show his best and duly won at Sandown last time. Racing off a mark of 144 he travelled really well and finished with gusto to see off Pete The Feat and Unioniste. As the latter has won next time out Le Reve looks really well treated off 149 and is one for the short list.

Colin Tizzard’s 9yo Theatre Guide showed he has the requisite pace and stamina for this when finishing second, albeit at a distance of 12L to Smad Place in the Hennessy last November. He can also boast winning course form, in a 2 1/2m chase, so running off the same mark as in his fine Hennessy effort, he is worth considering.

Neil Mulholland’s 9yo The Druids Nephew had a day in the sun when winning at last years festival, and for a time, four weeks later, looked like another was on the cards. He was leading the National field into “Valentines” the second time around, where unfortunately he came a cropper. He has been disappointing in his two outings since, and is now 9lbs higher than Cheltenham and Aintree so despite having form over the course he is passed over.

Selection : Le Reve

E.W. : Ruben Cotter

King George VI Chase Grade1 3m Kempton Saturday

I hope you backed last weeks selection, Jolly’s Cracked It, and put yourself in funds to help defray some of the upcoming festival expenses. Despite a mistake at the third flight, he travelled extremely well throughout and looked primed to collect the pot outright when flying the last and powering up the run in. He went at least 1/2L up on the free going Sternrubin and seemed to have the race in the bag, only to falter near the line, allowing the Hobbs horse to grab a share of the spoils. However as the old saying goes “half a loaf is better than no bread” and the starting price of 7/1 wasn’t the worst. With the first four in Saturday’s showpiece trading at prices between 9/4 and 7/1 it is unlikely that last weeks SP will be bettered, particularly in view of the fact that the 9/2 recorded about long Run when winning The King George in 2011 is the longest SP of the past decade.

First run in 1937 in honour of the newly crowned monarch, the race has become the second most prestigious chase in the calendar after the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself, and has been won by some of Steeplechasings greats, including Cottage Rake, Mandarin, Arkle, Desert Orchid, who won it an amazing four times, and Kauto Star who hit the back of the net on an even more amazing five occasions. Nothing in Saturday’s renewal can improve on either of those two outstanding records, but the Paul Nicholls trained Silviniaco Conti is going for his hat trick and it would be foolish to ignore this Kempton specialist’s chance. A winner of over £1,000,000. in prize money, and ten of his twenty chases, he has won two and been placed twice from his four course appearances. He looked as good as ever at Aintree last April when beating Ballynagour, Holywell, and Smad Place, but did disappoint in the Betfair Chase at Haydock eight weeks ago. Having had the benefit of a pipe opener over hurdles, he was sent off the 5/4 favourite, but had no answer to Cue Card, who won easily. On that running his prospects of getting the better of the Tizzard horse at the weekend look remote, but back at his favourite track, and in a truer run race, I’m not so sure.

Cue Card certainly looks a rejuvenated animal this year, and the Haydock win followed an equally impressive performance on his reappearance at Wetherby in October, where racing keenly, he won easily from the stable companions, Dynaste and Ballynagour. It seems hard to credit that rising ten on January 1st, he is improving, but perhaps it’s a case of his excellent trainer having sorted out the multitude of niggling problems that have beset this super animal over the years, and that we are now seeing the full promise of that young horse who flew up the Cheltenham hill to take the Champion Bumper five years ago, being realised.

The Willie Mullins trained Vautour looked a horse in a million when cruising up in the 20f novices chase at the Cheltenham festival.He made all, jumped like an old hand and won by 15L in a time nearly five seconds faster than standard, from Apache Stronghold, and stable companion Valseur Lido. Retired for the season, he reappeared at Ascot five weeks ago and wasn’t the most convincing when beating Ptit Zig from whom he was receiving 5lbs, by what looked a hard fought 1 3/4L. A tendency to jump left which he had shown previously at right handed Punchestown reemerged, and obviously raises concerns about how he will cope travelling in the same direction at the weekend. However that wonderful performance at Cheltenham will live long in the memory, and I doubt if master trainer Mullins would run this super young horse right handed in such a competitive race if serious doubts were entertained. It was his first run for nine months, so the race was probably badly needed and considerable improvement can be expected.

No concerns about the direction of travel will be keeping the connections of the 8yo Don Cossack awake,as he has won ten of the fourteen races he has contested going right handed.. His score of five from six chase wins in 2015 is mighty impressive, particularly as three of them were at Grade1 level.The only slight blot on his copybook came at the festival when finishing third to Uxizandre over an inadequate 21f. Following three subsequent victories he is considered by the assessor to have improved 9lbs from Cheltenham, making him the highest rated animal in Saturday’s contest. He was very impressive when taking a Grade1 chase at Down Royal at the end of October easily from Rocky Creek and Roi Du Mee and looks to have plenty going for him on Saturday. A worthy favourite to give his superb trainer his first “King George” win!

Selection: Don Cossack

E.W: Silviniaco Conti.

Racing Betting Tips BetBright Chase 3 Miles Kempton Saturday.

Lucy Wadham's 7yo La Reve would appear to have a lot going for him.

Lucy Wadham’s 7-y-o La Reve is our tips for the BetBright Chase.

With eleven of the last sixteen winners carrying 11st or more to victory, weight is no bar to success in this, which firmly puts the spotlight on the classier competitor. Indeed last years winner Bally legend, who won off a mark of 138, was the lowest rated in the last decade and three of the last ten winners, Farmer Jack ( 2005 ), Gungadu ( 2008 ), and Nacarat (2012 ), all scored of a mark higher than 150.

Tom George and Philip Hobbs have the best recent record, scoring twice in the last ten years, with Caroline Keevil, Harry Fry, Nigel Twiston-Davies, and Paul Nicholls collecting once. Course form has been a useful pointer, with ten of the last sixteen winners boasting a previous Kempton win, and it has to be said that the track certainly brings out the best in some animals. Favourites have had a desperate record, with only one succeeding in the last decade, and only three managing to finish in the first three. All age groups from seven to eleven have graced the winners circle in the same period, and earlier years have seen two six year olds win. Proven stamina has been important, with seven of the last ten winners having previously won over three miles. Good recent form has been shown by all except one winner in the last decade.

Lucy Wadham’s 7yo La Reve would appear to have a lot going for him. He won his last race ( Cl2 chase 3m1/2f Sandown ), by a comfortable 5l, from that good yardstick Theatrical Star, off a mark of 139 and doesn’t look harshly treated off seven pounds higher on Saturday. Successful on his only course appearance, ( 2m5f h ) he does seem to be particularly well suited by going right handed, with all his five victories having been acheived in a clockwise direction. Certainly one for the short list!

A winner of two of his five ventures over the larger obstacles, and three over hurdles, the Nicholl’s trained 7yo Easter Day looks well treated off a mark of 142, only 3lbs higher than his hurdles mark 139. He blotted his copybook last time out on trials day at Cheltenham four weeks ago, when travelling strongly he paid the price for a minor error at the third last and came down.

Some feel that he was an unlucky looser, but I’m not so sure. The winner Annacotty had plenty more in the tank, so whose to know? However on the plus side he can race off the same mark at the weekend. He has never won over three miles, but certainly wasn’t stopping when beating the subsequent R.S.A. Winner O’Faolain’s boy at Ascot ( 2m51/2f sft ) to whom he was giving 4lbs, thirteen months ago. A winner over 2m6f hurdling at Newbury and Ascot, He is unlikely to be found wanting on the stamina front, indeed may improve for the step up to 3m and is shortlisted.

Emma Lavelle’s 8yo, Fox Appeal, boasts a record of two course wins from four appearances, and ran second (beaten 10L), to the upwardly mobile Balder Success here in January. There are stamina issues, as the furthest he has won over fences is 2m41/2f,here at Kempton last November . He has won two 3m1/2f hurdles at Taunton, but Kempton’s 3m chase course, particularly, in races such as the King GeorgeV1 and Saturday’s contest, where they start racing in earnest a long way from home, can take some getting, so the jury is out on Fox Appeals stamina credentials.

Dr Richard Newland’s 9yo Ardkilly Witness is worth a second look. Another who prefers going right handed (all four wins going clockwise) is one of only three course and distance winners in Saturday’s race. ( last years winner Bally Legend, and Ballinvarrig the other two. ) After some lacklustre displays he bounced back to form with a battling performance over course and distance (January 10th), getting up to win by a shd to beat Masters Hill, with the 7/2 favourite Open Hearted 16L back in third. He unseated at the 3rd last behind La Reve at Sandown three weeks later, but may have been feeling the effects of his previous hard race, so off his mark of 139 it would be no surprise to see him involved at the weekend.

Course and distance winner Ballinvarrig, who was also placed on his only other course appearance, and trained by the twice successful Tom George, is of considerable interest. He had a hard race when winning over course and distance (Dec 27) off a mark of 126, and despite jumping errors ran well enough off his new mark of 133 to finish a battling on 6th (Ascot 2m51/2f). Returned to 3m at Kempton, with a nice racing weight of 10st 4lbs he is worth considering.

With two victories from four course appearances, both over the larger obstacles, Jonjo O’Neill’s Lost Legend catches the eye. It looked like a staying performance when he got up in the last stride to beat Cold March over the course (2m41/2f) when having his first run for six months ( Jan10) off a mark of 139. Turned out again two weeks later at Doncaster he finished a well beaten fifth. The race may well have come too soon, so racing off a mark on Saturday of 141 he looks quite well treated.

Selection: La Reve.

Danger: Easter Day.