A great weekend and period of National Hunt Racing with Kauto Star proving he is back to his sensational best, winning his fifth King George. A couple of my Cheltenham ante-post selections, Sprinter Sacre and Grands Crus, also put in spellbinding performances at Kempton, all of which augurs well as Cheltenham now begins to loom ever larger.
Racing on Thursday this week comes in fibresand format, with all weather cards at Southwell and Kempton keeping us going during the cold snap.
Starting at Southwell, there are a few horses that look very interesting, the most curious being SHIFTING GOLD for the Kevin Ryan yard. Switched back to the flat since an unsuccessful stint hurdling, the trainer’s daughter Amy gets the leg up and she has a good record when partnering the 5 year old. She has 4 wins and 4 seconds from her 14 times steering the son of Night Shift and at a reasonable price looks worth an interest.
Two more horses who have been running well in this sphere are NAFA and SPAHI. Spahi, was very impressive when winning well last week after being punted off the boards. Going off 2/1 favourite, he travelled well and picked up when asked, flying down the outside to win by a good neck. Running under a penalty in a selling handicap he should, in theory, be a penalty kick.
Not a penalty kick but one with a terrific chance is the consistent Nafa. Danny Tudhope takes both rides and has finished first and second on his two rides on the horse. He has to be respected, in a rather weak looking handicap.
Switching to Kempton, a horse who looks to hold excellent credentials in this capacity is the talented BOOKIESINDEXDOTNET, who is lowly waited in a Kempton nursery, the 4.20. Unsuccessful in maidens, since switched to handicapping she has taken advantage of a light mark, winning and finishing a good runner up in two five furlong handicaps. The form of the filly’s last run has worked out very well, with the winner since finishing second and first in two runs since.
The final selection is somewhat speculative, but could be very rewarding. The Mark Johnston trained PLATTSBURGH could be a decent price in the 4.50, a handicap over a mile and a half. The gelding comes back after a long break and, although inconsistent, there is evidence on some of his form that on his day he is capable of putting in a useful effort.
An unsuccessful two year old career in the autumn of last year put aside, he had two wins and a second from nine runs this year. In July, the son of Bernardini returned after a 68 day break to win well under Fallon and could do so once more under Franny Norton.
12.20 Southwell - Nafa
12.50 Southwell - Spahi
14.00 Southwell - Shifting Gold (ew)
4.20 Kempton - Bookiesindexdotnet
4.50 Kempton - Plattsburgh (ew)
The Yorkshireman – Jack Milner