For many people it may be a case of after the Lord Mayor’s ball, but not for me. The Saturday after Cheltenham is a weekend to make money and there are some cracking races on TV from Uttoxeter and Kempton.
The big betting event of the day is without doubt that Midlands National and this is a race purely for the sloggers, for the street fighters and the out-and-out gallopers.
But I fully expect the cream to rise to the top and HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (3.35pm) to land this big cash pot for trainer Venetia Williams. This smart stayer has run in better races than this in the past and placed efforts in the Welsh National and Warwick Classic are testament to his class and this is an easier ask.
Any further rain would certainly aid his cause and at a double-figure price he is too big to pass over and is preferred to the likes of stablemate Emperor’s Choice, Chase the Spud and Warrantor.
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The opener at Uttoxeter 1.50pm looks sure to be run at a helter-skelter pace with plenty that like to be involved at the sharp end. That should help your Saturday Hot Trot Jackpot selections and should also suit ZENAFIRE, a real out and out stayer on the flat, thoroughly unexposed and just beginning to get the hang of things over timber.
American side-stepped the RSA Chase at Cheltenham on account of the ground and looks sure to go close for Harry Fry in the novices handicap chase at 2.25pm. However, I am not sure he will be able to give the weight away to the strong staying WILD WEST WIND.
SOLSTICE STAR (3pm) had an amazing season last year, but as a consequence has bounced up the handicap. However, he is now only 5lbs above his last winning mark and as long as this seven-year-old can get his toe into the ground he will take a deal of holding in the 2m 4f handicap hurdle.
Plenty of horses that missed out on a run at the Cheltenham Festival will be hoping for some kind of compensation at Kempton Park with several big prizes up for grabs and the Graeme McPherson HOLLY BUSH HENRY (2.05pm) looks sort to relish conditions in the novices handicap chase.
Tony Martin has always thought a lot of Golden Spear and I respect his chance in the 2m 5f handicap hurdle (2.40pm). Kempton’s twists and turns could suit this quirky character.
However, at the weights and with the extra distance in his favour, I prefer the claims of DREAM BERRY. This lightly-raced son of Dream Well has suddenly come to himself, albeit on soft ground, but he has a fluid action which suggests this surface won’t prove a problem and he remains unexposed.
There will be plenty of pace on in the Silver Bowl Handicap Chase at 3.15 and that is sure to suit the ROMAIN DE SENAM, 1lb below his last winning mark and most definitely a spring horse.