Turf Talk: Only one Banker at Kempton

Adam Brookes
Adam Brookes

WITH New Year festivities done and dusted we can now get on with the racing and hopefully once again recapture the air of excitement and anticipation that surrounded the postponed King George Chase, where Kauto Star, the horse that makes bright green, yellow and purple cool, puts hoof to turf in a bid to capture his fifth win in the race.

That’s for Saturday though so let’s concentrate on the here and now and try and find a few winners from Wednesday’s action.

Let’s begin at Leafy Lingfield where trainer Michael Squance has expertly placed his flying filly Estonia (2.25) to two wins and a second from her last three outings.

The bay daughter of Exceed And Excel looks to have a great chance of adding to that record again here where she’s crept into this handicap with just eight stone seven pounds on her back. This light weight is certainly going to help her when you consider in her last four runs, the lightest weight she has carried has been nine stone four, peaking at nine stone 11 last time. What’s more, she has been transformed since today’s jockey Cathy Gannon began to ride her and you can logically assume that being a filly, she responds better to a female touch.

Quite simply, bar the steadily improving Picansort, none of the field she faces here look to have the potential to win this race and providing she’s over the excursions last Friday where she met an in-form rival in the shape of You’relikemefrank, Estonia looks to hold very strong claims.

In the 4.05, the value call has to be to take on favourite Super Collider as he’s been a beaten short-priced favourite on every one of his four starts since his debut, but the question is; who has the credentials to give him a run for his money?

Of the remainder the one who stands out for me is Sweet Origin who is trained by a very capable trainer in Marco Botti.

Making his debut seven months ago at a similar track in Wolverhampton, the selection caught a tartar somewhat in Point Out, when on the receiving end of a six length drubbing from that John Gosden filly. Yet, although that horse subsequently failed to run anywhere near to her handicap mark of 87 and 85, Sweet Origin’s performance was pretty positive.

His absence since is a bit of a worry but I’d be very confident that he’ll be at least as effective over this course, if not better, and his trainer could have hardly found an easier race for him to come back in, taking out the favourite.

So with Super Collider looking a liability, Bull Five, Cullybackey and Perle D’Amour not good enough and Olimamu an unknown quantity, the value call is most definitely to back Sweet Origin.

Over at Kempton, I’d be very keen to give another chance to the headstrong character that is Stratton Banker (5.15).

The reason for my advice is thus; he pulled far too hard off a slow pace over six furlongs last time and had no chance of producing a finishing effort in the closing stages having wasted all his energy earlier on. Back at a more suitable trip of five furlongs, I’d expect him to not have the luxury of pulling so hard and consequently he should be able to come home with a wet sail, just like he did and his penultimate start over the same distance, which culminated in a comfortable victory.

There’s no doubt they’re going to go like the clappers here and with electric mare Feelin Foxy almost certain to come across the selection to try and bag the rail, providing he doesn’t meet interference, he should be guaranteed to get a good toe into the race for as long as possible. I would be slightly worried about him seeing too much daylight from his relatively wide berth in nine, but that concern is negated by the presence of a top jockey in Jim Crowley on his back.

With a number of in-form horses in the race, here’s hopeful that we can get a decent price about the selection.

Finally, Gary Moore’s Kuhfre has the potential to run well in Lingfield’s 1.15 too.


Wednesday, January 12

2.25 (Ling) ESTONIA

4.05 (Ling) SWEET ORIGIN