ANOTHER fantastic week of jump racing is behind us with Rock on Ruby looking like another horse with potential to build significantly on his juvenile form, Peddlers Cross and Grands Crus both going 2/2 since switching to fencing, Carruthers winning the Hennessy Gold Cup in another feel-good story for National Hunt racing with Matty Bachelor, reputedly the nicest jockey in the weighing room, providing a hugely popular success for trainer Marcus Bradbourne and owner Lord Oaksey.
Although the National Hunt season is in full swing there is still fine all weather racing with Kempton putting on a particularly interesting card on Wednesday night, including a £20,000 listed race.
The Listed race in question, The Wild Flower Stakes has a good line up, including the 110 rated Laaheb, as well as 102 rated Celidh House, who finished an impressive third over an inadequate trip behind Juddmonte pair Mirror Lake and Principal Role at Doncaster last time out on soft. Although the filly should prefer the extra quarter of a mile, preference lies with BARBICAN, who has been in terrific heart this season since debuting on the all weather at Wolverhampton in February.
He has thrived, and has only disappointed when the ground has been good-to-firm. He stays well, winning this year from a mile to a mile and three quarters, his most impressive run coming in the Ladbrokes Mobile Heritage Handicap at Ascot where he was given a peach of a ride by usual companion Daryl Holland. Ryan Moore is in the saddle this time, and surely there is no better jockey to partner the versatile colt home.
A horse that looks to be on an upward curve is CRISTAL GEM, for champion trainer Richard Hannon, who runs in the 4.30, a claimer over a mile. He showed a smart turn of foot to win a maiden last month over seven furlongs at Lingfield, and previously showed promise in his two other runs finishing second at Lingfield, before a fifth of 17 at Goodwood. He has 6lb in hand on official ratings, with the only danger looking to be George Baker, who has finished placed on his last four starts, but is still yet to shed his maiden tag.
Ryan Moore has some other fantastic chances on the evening, including SAWAHILL for trainer Clive Britain in the familiar Saeed Manaa silks in the 6pm, a seven furlong maiden. The lightly raced filly has had two runs spread over 400 days, and the daughter of Diktat has showed glimpses in that to suggest, placed right, she could come good.
It looks a weak maiden, and she showed a nice cruising speed when tiring in her last run at Doncaster. She finished behind some smart types such as Scottish Lake, Switchback and Numeral, and based on that form, there could be a lot of improvement to come.
Moore also rides POPPY for Richard Hannon in the last race of the night, a six furlong handicap. This filly won over course and distance a month ago and ran a good fifth next time out in her only run since. She didn’t seem to stay the trip that day so the decision to drop back to six furlongs should surely suit.
RIVAS RHAPSODY is a horse of interest, dropped into handicap company after a facile maiden win at Ffos Las three weeks ago where he was heavily supported, justifying the money by tracking the leaders and pushing on to win by three and a half lengths. A well bred son of Hawk Wing, he is open to improvement, in what looks like a below par handicap. Off a mark of 62, he looks to be on the handicappers good side.
Trainer Ian Wood doesn’t have the biggest string but he has a decent enough record of 5 wins and 9 places from his previous 50 runners at Kempton The chief threat looks to be the in form Excellent Aim of George Margusson, who beat Welsh Dancer, who Rivas Rhapsody beat by 4 lengths, so the form line looks true between the two.
Selections (all Kempton)
4.30 Cristal Gem
7.00 Rivas Rhapsody