Some terrific racing today under both codes but we begin on the all-weather at Kempton where I hope to see L’Operateur (5.25) go one better than at Windsor last time when he looked an unlucky loser having been given too much to do. He has been raised 1lb for that effort but has looked a progressive sort since being gelded over the winter. Sir Mark Todd has his string in excellent form, and he gets the vote at 7/2 with William Hill ahead of Willyorwon’t He who is another who looks handicapped to win at present.
Tomouh (8.05) split a pair of promising three-year-olds when beaten a neck at Chelmsford last time and she is taken to make a winning handicap debut for Saeed bin Suroor with talented apprentice Stefano Churchi taking off a valuable 5lbs. The selection – 10/3 with 10Bet – has a terrific draw in stall two and she is bred to leave her opening mark behind. She gets a confident vote.
Accordingtogino did not jump as well as he can when runner up at Cheltenham last time. Under normal circumstances you would say that form might be good enough to win at Southwell, but I’m not convinced that is the case on this occasion.
The Devils Drop (5.10) is unbeaten in two starts at Southwell over hurdles and he went into many a notebook with his slick jumping when runner up at Newbury last time. A 4lbs rise makes life more difficult but, if there is no significant rain, I feel he can maintain his unbeaten course record although he wouldnt want too much rain. The selection is 9/4 with MansionBet.
The 2m handicap chase is a belter and Statuario (5.45) can maintain the excellent recent run of the Peter Bowen stable. The selection – 7/2 with Boylesports – went down by a nose from a well handicapped and lightly raced opponent from a 3lbs lower mark at Warwick – good to soft – and he is taken to go one better from the foot of the weights.
The winning pointer Witness Protection may need softer ground on his chase debut, and a bigger danger might come from Donald McCain’s Onthefrontfoot who has yet to finish out of the first three in four starts over fences.
At Warwick this afternoon, Robert Bevis has a couple of interesting runners and in the 3m 1f handicap hurdle I am keen to take on the market leaders Barney Bataleur and I’m A Starman who have stamina to prove.
Sartene’s Son (4.30) won over three miles at Bangor-on-Dee on his penultimate start before disappointing back at the north Wales track last month following a three-month lay-off. The each way selection has opened at 14/1 and remains well treated on his old form when trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies.
The hope is that he will strip fitter with last month’s run under his belt and any further rain would certainly suit. That 14s with William Hill looked too big and he is a best price of 17/2 with the same firm at the time of posting.