Nicky Henderson saddles two that make their chase debuts in Reigning Supreme and Wenyerreadyfreddie in what is a competitive novice handicap chase. Reigning Supreme looks the pick from Seven Barrows with his trainer stating he has schooled well and the form of his novice hurdle win at Newbury in March looks good. Improvement is needed on that run though, where as Wenyerreadyfreddie looks better handicapped on hurdle form and should also be respected. Hell’s Kitchen is current favourite having finished behind Different Gravey and River Wylde on both completed chase starts. There is some doubt about Harry Fry’s six year old as he had a year off, returning in November fitted with a hood, then a tongue tie was added on his next start and with his jumping not overly convincing, is fairly short @ 7/2. Touch Kick would appeal more @ 15/2 though he did jump left last time at Sandown and cannot afford to do that on a tight track like Kempton. There are similar concerns for Carlisle winner Mister Whittaker, who looks competitive on the figures but has struggled on recent visits to sharper tracks like Market Rasen and Fontwell and could well enjoy a more galloping test. Theo’s Charm’s chase record does not make for impressive reading, the last three attempts not quite going to plan, that said he is well handicapped if jumping round and enjoying the drop back to two and a half miles. One of interest is Gary Moore’s Bad Boy Du Pouldu who has improved on every chase start, including two runs at Kempton, should relish the step up in trip and though he can be slightly tricky, should go well under Bryony Frost @ 16/1.
The John Francome Novices’ Chase at Newbury does tend to throw up a good one but this year’s renewal, won by Elegant Escape, does not look the strongest of form. Fountains Windfall, a faller three out, Black Corton and Elegant Escape are closely matched, along with Ballyoptic, who may have the most improvement to come but is prone to mistakes which urges caution as far as betting is concerned. At the weights, Black Corton looks the pick @ 5/1 as there should be a strong pace setting things up for a closer. Mia’s Storm would rate a strong fancy in this but with heavy rain predicted overnight she may just find conditions on the slow side. On a good surface she is the most likely winner. Thistlecrack’s brother, West Approach, would be tempting @ 9/1 if his tendency to jump left does not arise and he should benefit from the way the race is run.
A fairly open renewal of the Rowland Meryick Chase with Aloomomo heading the market. Absent since falling in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in 2016, Aloomomo has been kept to novice hurdles this season and is now unleashed over fences, this race looking the target and with Richard Johnson booked, is the one to beat @ 7/2. Get On The Yeager is open to improvement and stays well though it is interesting that Harry Skelton has not travelled and stays at Kempton which tempers enthusiasm. Wakanda looks the chief threat to Aloomomo, second in this race last year off five pounds higher Sue Smith’s eight year old will be thereabouts and should hit the frame @ 5/1. Course and distance winner Baywing would be a player but his jumping has blighted him since winning the Towton back here in February while this is an easier task than those that Shantou Flyer has faced recently and could go well. Delsuionofgrandeur cannot be totally ruled out but needs to find more at the weights.
This looks a penalty kick for Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air but the 2/9 refelects that. It is hard to envisage Old Guard getting past The New One and there may be more value backing the latter in a market without the favourite.
An absolute festive cracker with Might Bite and Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai clashing with a supporting cast of 2016 winner Thistlecrack, Grade One winners Fox Norton and Tea For Two plus Ladbrokes Gold Cup second Whisper. Conditions may have just turned in the favour of Bristol De Mai but it will be interesting t o see how this resolute galloper takes to the sharper turns of Kempton and how his Betfair Chase form stands up. If his demolition at Haydock is repeated then the 4/1 could well look a big price come 3.10. This course held no problems for Might Bite twelve months ago apart from his fall at the last and he is the one with the most potential, though his half-brother Beat That did not like softer conditions so it will be interesting to see how he handles them. Thistlecrack had the world at his feet after winning this race a year ago but this time around is having to prove himself after a lacklustre run at Newbury over hurdles, even allowing for his injury induced absence. Fox Norton is an intriguing runner stepping up to three miles for the first time and on his win at Aintree last spring, this distance should hold no fears and he could be the value @ 7/1. Whisper can hit the frame but may not be quite good enough to win this while Tea For Two, a horse that goes well at Kempton, could place if the ground is not too soft.
Reuben’s Best Bets:
Bad Boy Du Pouldu – 1.20 Kempton – 1pt win @ 16/1
Aloomomo – 2.10 Wetherby – 1pt win @ 7/2