Good, if not great, news from Friday's featured race, as my three against the field finished 1st, 3rd and 4th with Sod's Law prevalent once again as my second choice, the 11/2 advised Lucky Ava was the 7/2 winner. I'd gone with The Pretty Way, who I felt was overpriced at 9/2 and she was third at 3/1 to justify my thoughts. So no profit today, but I'll claim some kind of moral victory.
Saturday is our last piece of the month and the free feature is the fabulous Trainer/Jockey combo report, whilst there are full free racecards on offer to everyone for the following races...
- 2.00 Kempton
- 3.45 Kempton
...there was a couple at Cheltenham too, but that meeting has succumbed to the weather I'm afraid.
Of the two featured races, the first looks better/more interesting, so we're setting our sights on the 2.00 Kempton...
...where I'm expecting bottom weight Amtiyaz to be popular and therefore possibly over-bet. My task is to see if his popularity is deserved and whether I can offer an alternative selection or two.
Starting with form, Chipiron and Amtiyaz are best recently, whilst Koeman, Rochester House and Vibrance have also won in the not too distant past. We have five class movers with three coming down from C2 to C3 (Koeman, Cosmelli & Amtiyaz) whilst both Hasanabad and Vibrance move up from Class 4 runs last time out. Recent form also has a bearing on the Geegeez Ratings with Chipiron, Koeman & Amtiyaz leading the way.
Koeman won at this grade over 1m4f two starts ago, but could only manage fifth over the same trip when raised a class last time out. He's 4 from 10 on the A/W, has won here at Kempton, is 6 from 24 over 1m4f , but 0 from 3 at 1m4.5f to 1m6f and has never raced beyond 1m6f. Dropped in class, eased a pound in the weights plus a 7lb jockey claim and pretty good recent form suggests he should have a good chance if handling the extra half mile.
Dal Horrisgle has finished third and then fifth of late, but both over hurdles. Last seen on level ground at Ascot when only beaten by 2.25 lengths at this class/trip but on soft ground. The re-opposing Rochester House actually won that race and Dal Horrisgle is 3lbs worse off here, so difficult to see him winning here and not one I'd spent too much time/money on.
Cosmelli got to within half a length of the winner at this class/trip two starts ago on the A/W at Newcastle, but toiled last time out raised in class. Back at Class 3 should help him, of course. He was less than a quarter of a length ahead of Rochester House at Newcastle but is now a pound worse off, making life a little more difficult. He's o from 13 going right handed too, which isn't great and includes 6 defeats over C&D and I expect he'll come up a little short again here,
Hasanabad produces most of his best form in NH contests, but was a 4.5 length runner-up over 1m6f at Chelmsford six weeks ago. That was a Class 2 contest, so this should be a little easier and the trip shouldn't be an issue. Sadly those good runs on the level are few and far between and he's not the most reliable type if there's nothing for him to jump, so I'd probably wait until he returns to hurdling..
Chipiron has interestingly good form figures on face value at 232 in three UK races, but that should be tempered by checking they actually came in fields of 3, 6 and 5 runners respectively. His French form, however was very good winning seven times between 1m4f and 1m7.5f and often on dreadful ground. Back up in trip today after a run at 1m4f LTO, but was only beaten by a length at this class/trip two starts ago despite coming off a break. He was half a length in front of Rochester House (who seems to have raced against lots of today's field) that day but now re-opposes a pound worse off. Place chances here, but I don't fancy him for the win at this moment of my analysis.
Charlie D represents the well-known successful Dascombe/Kingscote trainer/jockey combo who have good individual and combined records here at Kempton, but the horse himself has seemed out of sorts of late and hasn't really ran well in five starts since winning at Newmarket back in June of last year. Has won eight times so far including four under jockey Richard Kingscote and that jockey booking and a drop in weight that offer some hope for this contest, but I fancy others more if I'm honest.
Cleonte is just 2 from 23 and has looked out of sorts since winning at Ascot in June 2019 and his last six outings have been particularly disappointing seeing finish 7th of 9, last of 6, last of 34, 8th of 9, 6th of 7 and 5th of 6. This is clearly not the same horse that was only 1.75 lengths behind Stradivarius in 2019 and despite only being 6yrs ago, I fear his best days have been and gone.
Rochester House has been mentioned several times already and re-opposes six of this field on better terms today. His yard and jockey are in good individual and combined form the same can be said about their records here at Kempton. The horse may well have only finished fourth in each of his last outings at class/trip, but wasn't beaten by far in either and had won his two previous races before those 4th places. Four of his five carrier wins have been at two miles whilst four wins have come with Joe Fanning in the saddle and I'd expect the pair to be in the final shake-up here : definite place prospects.
Vibrance was on fire here at Kempton from November 2019 to July 2020 finishing 111313 over course and distance taking his handicap mark from 65 to 86 in the process. He then struggled off 86, beaten by 15 lengths as last of 12 home at Sandown and now returns to A/W racing for the first time in over six months. On paper, he's got a really good chance, but I fear the lay-off, a mark of 86 and the booking of an inexperienced albeit talented 7lb claimer jockey (has never ridden beyond 1m4.5f) make others more appealing to me, although Vibrance will look good on Instant Expert shortly, no doubt!
To Be Wild won his second and third career starts way back in 216 and that was possibly the peak of his career, having failed to impress since. His form won't have been helped by the rustiness caused by only running twice since mid-December 2019 and suffice to say, he's not for me and I wouldn't be surprised if he's last home here, unless he beats Cleonte!
Last but certainly not least, we have bottom weight and likely favourite Amtiyaz. Carrying no weight is useful, as is the booking of the mega-talented Hollie Doyle, throw in a recent form line of 21132 over the last four months and you've a rough idea of why he's popular. Oh, did I mention that Frankel's his dad? So some decent breeding going on, but a factor that often leads to runners being over-bet. The negatives around this one include the fact that he could only finish 3rd of 7 at class. course and distance seven weeks ago and is now rated 3lbs higher. He's 0 from 2 here at Kempton, 0 from 2 at 2m and hasn't won beyond Class 4. He is, however, 2 from 5 under Hollie Doyle and probably deserves to be favourite, but not a clear one if that makes sense?
Some of what I've just mentioned will, of course, be repeated by Instant Expert, but here's your quick overview of race suitability using our unique traffic light system...
I said Vibrance would look good! Koeman's ability in this grade is a standout stat, as is Rochester House's form at this trip and the latter is only 1lb higher than his last win. Likely favourite Amtiyaz doesn't look quite as appealing here, though.
A/W contests often lean heavily on the pace and draw stats and how the two interlink, but is the draw as relevant over two miles? You wouldn't probably have thought so, but over 109 similar races, there does seem to be a bias towards a low draw...
..but a high draw isn't totally disastrous. If you can lead from the high draw, then you're actually the most likely to win, believe it or not. Otherwise low and held up/mid-div are the places to be...
And when we overlay our runners in likely pace order...
...none of them particularly stand out. Koeman possibly looks best suited with both Rochester House and Amtiyaz not too far away from being in the green. In fact those three are the ones that have caught my eye the most during my analysis of the race and I think I want them to be my final three. There are bits and pieces to like about Chipiron and Cosmelli, whilst Vibrance would be better down in class, but I think I'm happy with my three.
I've taken (alphabetically) Amtiyaz, Koeman and Rochester House as my three against the field here, but the bookies don't agree with me. That said, they're not always right! I don't there's too much between all three, but I do have a marginal preference for Koeman. I like all three here and there are lots of positives for each of the trio, I just feel that Koeman has fewer negatives and at odds of 7/1, he's very interesting.
I don't see Amtiyaz as a 9/4 or 5/2 horse if next best is 5/1 or 11/2 and as I'm struggling to split the favourite from Rochester House, who is priced at a best priced 8/1, then I'd rather Rochester was runner-up. There won't be much in it, but I hope I've found the first three or at least a winner at 7/1 or 8/1.