Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: UK Racing Best Bets - Saturday 22 February 2020

UK Racing Best Bets - Saturday 22 February 2020

UK Racing Best Bets

Neil Morrice walks you through the front runners for Saturday's racing at 
Kempton Park, Lingfield and Chelmsford City
. This will include the feature race analysis for the Betway Handicap Chase, Betway Winter Derby and Vertem Eider Handicap Chase. 

Betway Handicap Chase (Grade 1) 

CHAMPION trainer Paul Nicholls is throwing the kitchen sink at the day’s feature by fielding four of the 14 runners. Stable Jockey Harry Cobden rides ADRIEN DU PONT, Bryony Front will as usual partner BLACK CORTON, Bryan Carver takes 5lb off SAMETEGAL and Harry Skelton teams up with his former boss on ROMAIN DE SENAM.

With course form, a meaningful attribute on this sharp track, followers of ADRIEN DU PONT will forgive him a couple of underwhelming efforts at away venues so far this season and look for a renaissance.

Representing the irrepressible Nicholls, the gelding needed his first run back at Ascot in November and wasn’t able to perform on the heavy ground when returning there for the race won by Riders On the Storm. Against that he’s put in his two best career efforts at Kempton, including when a staying on and slightly unlucky third in this race. It does look as though Nicholls has trained him specifically for the prize.

BLACK CORTON has an uncanny knack of lighting up the board, and although without a win during the current campaign the 9yo looks like a horse ready to come good at any time.

Grand National bound TALKISCHEAP is having a first run since November owing to a Hobday operation. He will find conditions softer than ideal but trainer Alan King wants the gelding to blow away the cobwebs at a course where he’s gone well in the past. King also saddles AZZERTI who needs to put an unexplained poor run at Doncaster behind him.

Harry Fry’s JUST A STING scored in pleasing style last time and his followers will take heart from how well course form tends to stand up here. The 8yo competes off just 10th 4lb and as this is just his third outing of the season there should be more to come. Fry’s horses have been quieter than usual so fat but a success for the 8yo would jettison life at the right time for Cheltenham.

A less exposed candidate is WHATMORE, who since scoring on his debut over fences at Market Rasen has kept company with decent novice company including when third to Deyrann De Carjac and Pym at Huntingdon. A subsequent flop at Warwick could be put down to his preference for a right-handed course, and he races off a mark of 138 in this first handicap which is 4lb lower than his peak over hurdles. Interestingly, six of the last 12 winners of this have been novices.

KILDISART has done his best to skin his followers of late but remains a horse of interest if able to recapture his smart form from last season. He ran very Flat at Ascot last time but since then Ben Pauling’s horses have found some form.

Also bringing an element of class into the handicap is DOUBLE SHUFFLE who likes the track and should benefit from a return to handicapping.

Prediction

1st KILDISART

2nd Just A Sting

3rd Talkischeap

4th Black Corton

5th Whatmore

6th Adrien Du Pont


Betway Winter Derby (Group 3) 
The biggest single race in the UK all-weather calendar looks a three-cornered fight with horse of the moment BANGKOK taken on by a twin spearhead of DUBAI WARRIOR and COURT HOUSE from the powerful John Gosden stable.

Bangkok is an 8-11 shot with Hollywoodbets but that situation can change and it wouldn’t surprise me if Andrew Balding’s in form colt drifted on the show to make him a backable entity. He displayed impressive track craft to state his case for this in a Listed race in which he smashed the course record. That four and a half-length demolition of Court House leaves the latter with a mountain to climb.
Against that Dubai Warrior is progressive, and with just six career starts has plenty of room for maneuver even though he has a fair bit to find with the favourite on official figures. The 4yo has looked the part winning at Chelmsford and over today’s course and distance to make it five wins from six outings. Interestingly his claims lie in a separate race in which he inflicted a three and three-quarter length defeat to Court House, also in Listed company and over the identical strip he will race over today.

To sum up, there might be plenty of money heading in the direction of young pretender Dubai Warrior, but the potential BANGKOK displayed in his early 3yo career is now becoming race-winning reality, and his lethal turn of foot can make the difference under Silvestre De Sousa.

Prediction

1st BANGKOK

2nd Dubai Warrior

3rd Court House

4th Dalgarno


Vertem Eider Handicap Chase
Plenty of in-form stayers contest this four and a quarter mile marathon, one of the longest races in the UK calendar. Looking for a fourth win from his last five outings, VERY FIRST TIME takes a big jump up the distance ladder after romping home over three miles at Doncaster. Bridget Andrews takes the reins on the 8yo who importantly has course winning form to his name.

PRIME VENTURE is respected under top weight and has no stamina issues after finishing fourth in the Welsh National. Things didn’t go well for him when he fell at Haydock and then ran moderately at Exeter, but that was only three days later. Trainer Evan Williams has given his charge plenty of time to get over it.

Staying is also the name of the game for PETITE POWER who goes to post relatively fresh and with two wins, a second and a third to his name. He put in some solid work at the business end of a valuable handicap at Warwick, finishing behind Kimberlite Candy, and has a good chance of bolster8ng the latter’s Grand National claims.

Non-horse is less exposed than the David Pipe-trained HUGO ‘N TAZ who came of age at Market Rasen in December and comes here fresh from a subsequent break. GLITTERING LOVE is a virtual novice who ran well to a point here behind FORTIFIED BAY and has a good chance of gaining his revenge at the revised weights.

Prediction

1st PETITE POWER

2nd Hugo ‘n Taz

3rd Prime Venture

4th Glittering Love

5th Very First Time

Kempton Park Undercard Best Bets


Race 2: COMMANCHE RED (1) 
Trainer: Chris Gordon - Jockey: Paddy Brennan 

Course specialist COMMANCHE RED can turn the tables on Reserve Tank from Wincanton form earlier in the season in this fascinating Pendil Novices’ Chase. Ever since winning a bumper here two years ago the chestnut has looked his trainer’s leading light, and that view was firmly rubber-stamped when he beat Simply The Betts in the big novices’ handicap chase here on Boxing Day. The runner-up went on to give the form a notable boost with a decisive win at Cheltenham.

Race 3: FUJIMOTO FLYER (9)
Trainer: Emmet Mullins - Jockey: Daryl Jacob

This Grade 2 Adonis Hurdle gives Triumph Hurdle hopefuls a last chance to boost their claims for the juvenile title at the Festival in just over two weeks and FUJIMOTO FLYER threatens to dominate. The latter has been impressive in two starts in France and can book her ticket for Cheltenham by completing a hat-trick.

Race 4: ELGIN (4) (Each Way) 
Trainer: Alan King - Jockey: Tom Cannon 

A big question is being asked of ELGIN who returns from a near 600 day absence in this Kingwell Hurdle, rescheduled after the cancellation of Wincanton last week. The 8yo won the corresponding race in 2018 before finishing fifth in the Champion Hurdle, and though his trainer suggests he’ll benefit from the race I still anticipate a bold showing that should take him into the money at least.

Race 5: BUZZ (3)
Trainer: Nicky Henderson - Jockey: Nico de Boinville

There was much to like about the way BUZZ duked it out with the more experienced Glory And Fortune to preserve his unbeaten record at Doncaster and he looks a worthy favourite for this Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle. His owners are in the hunt for a good horse and this could be the one to put them back in the limelight.

Lingfield Park Undercard Best Bets

Race 3: BOMBSHELL (4)
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien - Jockey: Ben Curtis

O’Brien has a very good strike-rate with his runners in the UK this winter and BOMBSHELL looks poised to enhance that statistic. He did his best work at the finish when third in a big field at Dundalk two weeks ago and from a good draw he can swoop to conquer in the short home straight.

Race 7: BEHIND THE WALL (3)
Trainer: Archie Watson - Jockey: Kieren Shoemark 

This could turn into a straight fight between Group One Power and BEHIND THE WALL with preference for the latter. He ran the useful Dublin Pharoah to a length and a half over track and trip last week with the rest well beaten off. That was a big step up from his first run, he can play the experience card and receives a very useful 7lb from his penalised rival.

Chelmsford City Best Bets

Race 2: STORMY MOUNTAIN (9) 
Trainer: Charlie Appleby - Jockey: Jamie Spencer

There were plenty of fingers burned on STORMY MOUNTAIN when she was turned over at odds-on at Kempton. Backed as if defeat was out of the question, she was too keen for her own good in the early stages and just didn’t have enough strength to reel in Lottie Marie where it mattered. Her subsequent work indicates she has learned, and will be more settled.

Race 3: PIVOINE (1)
Trainer: Andrew Balding - Jockey: Joshua Bryan

On his day PIVOINE can compete with the best of them. He’s a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde and won’t find it easy to get cover in this small field, but against that he’s been in good form at home since a satisfactory first run of the year. Given the rub of the green the visored stalker can pounce late.

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