Turf Talk: Nicholls oozes Royal Charm at Kempton

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THIS year’s Racing Post Chase has a whopping £57,000 first prize and a bumper field is set to match a bumper payout, with 17 runners declared for Saturday’s Grade 1 handicap.

The race was won last year by Nigel Twiston Davies with RAZOR ROYAL, who relishes cut in the ground. If the forecast rain arrives he could be a big player at his current price of 16/1.

Last year’s runner up NACARAT also has to be on the shortlist. The only negative is that the Tom George yard is not in the best of form. With only 2 winners from 60 horses turned out this year, a strike rate of 3% compared to the 2010 mark of 10% highlights that the yard are not currently operating at their peak. That being said, Nacarat has solid form this season with a good win in the Charlie Hall, before finishing fourth in both the Betfair Chase and the King George.

A horse that has been eyecatching, for good and bad reasons, is the Paul Nicholls’ trained TOUBAB who runs in the 3.35 at Kempton. Rated 141, he is the second highest rated horse in the race, behind Minella Class. He was simply awesome on his seasonal reappearance, defeating a solid field including Dunraven Storm and Drill Sergeant. He then flopped at Sandown; however the trainer said that this was purely down to the very heavy ground. The horse is highly thought of in the yard, and they are adamant that they have a future superstar on their hands and for that reason he is worth taking another chance on.

Another Paul Nicholls horse with strong claims is ROYAL CHARM, a horse who has won four of his six starts. Another French import, the horse has taken well to chasing this season, winning both his races, the latest win being the more impressive. He showed guts and determination to nail Leo’s Lucky Star on the line, making up three lengths in the last 100 yards in a driving finish. Daryl Jacob has been booked to carry on his partnership with the horse and a recent break may have freshened him up and done him the world of good.

My final selection runs in the 4.45 and is the Henrietta Knight trained SOIXANTE. He won the same race last year, and runs off the same mark this time around. Course and distance form around Kempton is usually a huge positive. Soxiante’s only two wins have come on soft ground, again, forecast rain could be a factor in our favour. He should have a very good each way chance if things fall right for him.

Selections Summary

2.25 Royal Charm 3pt Win

3.00 Razor Royal 1pt EW

3.00 Nacarat 1pt EW

3.35 Toubab 2pt Win

4.45 Soixante 2pt Win

(All at Kempton)