CHESTER’S CLAIM GIVES ERIK A REAL 8/1 CHANCE
Warwick 1.50 - I am a huge fan of White Moon, a horse who has an abundance of potential but is yet to realise it. He is certainly a work in progress and one to follow but I think right now ROCKY’S TREASURE looks more of the real deal.
Kim Bailey’s tough novice has surprised a few with how he has taken to fences but I think that is more because he was campaigned in shallow waters over hurdles. Every inch a chaser, he has produced some sparkling performances this season and although he has to concede 5lb to his rivals, I think he is more than good enough to go in again.
Kempton 2.05 - Kim Bailey could be in for a quickfire across the card double as CHARBEL looks to have obvious claims here. Bailey deserves extra credit for how he has coaxed this horse back to his classy best because at one point it looked as if he was going to be recognised only as ‘the horse that fell in Altior’s Arkle’. His win in the Peterborough Chase last time out impressed me and he won it in the style of classy horse.
Warwick 2.25 - Yet another competitive race here and another where I have had to split two horses who I would normally back without hesitation any other day.
The two horses in question are Stoney Mountain and TIDAL FLOW and as the capitals suggest I have sided with Richard Johnson’s homebred. A big, raw horse who stays this trip well, put in a much more polished performance last time at Newbury and showed the benefit of his opening run at Kempton. He should come on again for that and I can see him proving hard to pass up the straight.
Kempton 2.40 - There has been a big drift on ERICK LE ROUGE (NAP) the past couple of days, probably because he is top of the racecard but punters shouldn’t let that put them off. Chester Williams’ 7lb claim makes life a lot easier and if you look closely there isn’t a great deal between the whole field. His win last time out over course and distance was a personal best and at the age of five I wouldn’t be surprised if there is even more to come.
In my eyes he did it a shade cosily that day and he will much prefer the conditions of this race where he shouldn’t have to kick for home so early. At 8/1 he is a serious each way bet.
Warwick 3.00 - The Classic Chase at Warwick is a slog more often than not, but this year, decent ground throws a different perspective onto the race. I’m sure CALETT MAD has more to offer in these marathons and a classy weight-bearing performance last time at Kelso goes some way to proving that point. He conceded a lot of weight to the eventual winner that day and only went down half a length. He looks much better treated in this race where he may just have the advantage of youth over some of his older rivals.
Kempton 3.15 - BALLYKAN (NB) ran second in this race last year and looks to face a much easier task this year. A capable horse on decent ground, Nigel Twiston-Davies has campaigned him sparingly most winters with the view of making hay in the summer. However, with the ground remaining good most of the winter, ‘Big Nige’, has a few more targets to aim him at, this being one.
Warwick 3.35 - It’s hard to forget how progressive FIRST ASSIGNMENT looked when hosing up at Cheltenham in November. He lost nothing in defeat last time out and a break since will have freshened him up. His new mark looks steep but I do believe he is capable of winning again.