Some excellent performances at Newbury and Ayr on Sunday with pride of place going to John Porter winner Al Aasy who looked one to follow for the excellent William Haggas this season. The Hardwicke at Royal Ascot is likely to be his mid-season highlight although I do feel he could make up into a Group 1 performer later in the campaign.
Seven meetings in Britain and Ireland this afternoon and we start at Kempton where there is a twilight jumps fixture which will be run on watered ground described as good on Sunday morning.
In the opening conditional jockey’s handicap hurdle Chez Hans looks the one to beat having scored at Taunton over 2m 3f from a 3lbs lower mark last time. The Paul Nicholls’ trained market leader drops back to the minimum trip this afternoon and preference is for Hydroplane (4.50) who looked an unlucky loser when runner up at Ludlow last time. The selection – 5/2 from 11/4 with MansionBet – had previously pulled his chance away at Doncaster, but he remains well treated on the best of his flat form and might have too much toe for today’s field.
Mortens Leam finished runner up here over 3m back in the autumn on good ground from an 8lbs higher mark. Today’s 2m 4f trip should be fine and he could easily bounce back to form returning to decent ground, having disappointed on soft/heavy ground in recent outings. There is no guaranteed pace in the race, however, and Rebel Royal (6.20) representing the Alan King yard may be best served if the race becomes tactical.
The selection – 5/2 with 10Bet – has gone well fresh in the past and has been off the track since finishing down the field on soft ground back in November. He looked potentially smart when making a winning chase debut from a 3lbs higher mark back at Huntingdon in October 2019 when he bounced off the good ground. Connections look to have found a very good opportunity.
At Pontefract Warranty is visored for the first time by Harry Whittingham in the marathon 2m 5f+ handicap. The 4-y-old won over two miles for Mark Johnston at Beverley when last seen on the level. It would be fair to say that things have not quite worked out over hurdles for the 4-y-old and he has stamina to prove. Preference is for Wemyss Point (2.00) who is a C&D winner and has been running well on the all-weather of late. The 3s with Boylesports looks about right.
At Windsor Jim Boyle saddles two in the concluding 10f handicap. Bad Company won his last four starts in his 3-y-old career, but those successes were all gained on soft or heavy ground and his stablemate Leroy Leroy (4.45) gets the vote. The selection -11/4 with BetVictor – is only 3lbs higher than when winning an apprentice event at Doncaster last month and he remains very well treated on his best form for Richard Hannon including when finishing second in the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar from a 20lbs higher mark back in 2019.