This is an interesting 2m Novice Hurdle at Kempton, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: A couple of interesting sorts in this and BURNING HEAT can follow up his promising run on hurdles debut with a victory here. The form has been franked since and with normal progression he should be able to get off the mark in this code today. Argyle could give him most to think about for a yard that do well with this type of horse.
1 CELMA DES BOIS – Had shown some promise in a couple of National Hunt Flat races in Ireland last spring but he’s struggled badly since arriving at Richard Rowe’s yard. He’s finished pulled up and last of eight on two occasions and his SP’s (66/1 and 100/1) have accurately reflected his performances. Hard to imagine a reversal in form today.
2 MAN FROM MARS – Finished second of eleven beaten 7 lengths by Burbank two runs ago and that form looks solid enough to give him a good chance in this. He found life too tough in Grade 3 company last time out and will be seen to much better effect in this weaker grade. Yard have a 16% strike rate here and he sets the standard in this off a mark of 122.
3 THE POODLE FAKER – Steps down in trip to 2 miles today having struggled over further in recent runs. He has been sent off 100/1 on both starts this year and he should be capable of better now dropped slightly in grade having shown promise in late 2015. Worth a second look in the betting and could be dangerous if he can find some of that earlier form.
4 ARGYLE – Ex-flat recruit who failed to win in 9 attempts on the flat off marks in the high 60’s and low 70’s. He’s been well beaten on Heavy ground his last twice although he certainly improved last time out finishing 9 1/2 lengths behind the winner. He should do better on this drier ground and is worth very close attention in the betting for a yard in excellent form (18% strike rate last 14 days).
5 BURNING HEAT – Ran to a modest level in France as a 3yo but has shown much improved form for the switch in codes with an excellent effort last time out. The winner of his last race has franked the form since and he should progress again in similar conditions with Jack Quinlan retaining the ride. The yard have sent out a winner from two runners here and he’s greatly respected with that run under his belt.
6 JUSTE POUR NOUS – Has spent most of his career with Mark Johnston and managed to win two races in 18 starts on the flat. He’s had a recent outing at Lingfield where he ran to a modest level and that was most likely done to get him fit and race ready for his hurdles debut today. Of interest for a yard in form of late (15%) and one to keep an eye on.
7 MASKED BANDIT – He’s by Dick Turpin but only raced on the flat once which saw him finish last of 10, beaten 40 lengths at Windsor last October. He didn’t fare much better on hurdles debut at Fontwell on Boxing Day finishing sixth of seven, beaten 67 lengths and it’s difficult to imagine a change in fortune today. Avoided today.
8 NEW MILLENNIUM – A horse with an interesting profile given he’s by Galileo and an ex-Aidan O’Brien inmate. He was quickly moved on having been well-beaten on both of his flat starts. He showed promise at Punchestown on Soft ground, finishing third of thirteen beaten 11 lengths by the useful Landofhopeandglory. He couldn’t feature in February in a tougher race than this and he will do much better now raced on quicker ground. Interesting.
9 STATUS QUO – Ran with promise on a couple of occasions on the flat off marks in the 70’s and he’s not transitioned well to hurdling. He’s been well-beaten on both starts to date for a yard in lightning form (44% strike rate in the last fortnight) and it’s hard to envisage a big improvement in form having raced on today’s ground and over today’s distance. Best watched here.
10 WINDSPIEL – Once-raced inmate for David Arbuthnot (one winner from 18 runners here) and that came in an All-Weather bumper at Lingfield. He was well-beaten that day and it’s tricky to know how he will shape on debut over hurdles. It’s unlikely he’ll be able to get involved here and is avoided today. One for handicaps in the future.
11 MISS JOANS – Didn’t have to improve much to put in a better showing at Kempton last time out. She had been pulled-up on two starts previous to that on Soft and Heavy ground and that may have just found this filly out. She will do better on this sounder surface but she’s impossible to recommend here.
12 PIVOTAL FLAME – Won twice on the flat for James Tate and has shown some very limited ability in one start over hurdles to date. That came at Kempton in March where she was beaten 28 lengths and like her stablemate, will do better with more time and experience over hurdles. Best watched here today for a yard with a very poor 3% strike rate here.