Race Time: 7.40pm Meeting: Kempton Day: Wednesday 11th November 2015
Distance: 7f Full Race Name: Boo Classic Conditions Stakes Class Two
It really is time for a lot of the “old fashioned” punters to bite the bullet and acknowledge that all-weather racing is on the up and up in this Country, with this Class Two Conditions race well worth some coverage as we build toward Easter and the ever more valuable finale to the All-Weather Series. With £19,000 in guaranteed prize money, paying out down to fourth, this is one of the more valuable races of the day, and with only six runners, plenty of work means we ought to be able to find the winner (famous last words). Interestingly, no horse aged older than five has won this race in the last ten years, yet the top two on official ratings (even allowing for the weights) are aged seven and eight, so something has to give! Leading the way, according to the handicapper anyway, we have Glorious Days (7/2), an eight year old son of Hussonet who is an import from Hong Kong to the stable of Ed Walker in Newmarket – and its usually the other way round! Although we accept it must be more than a little difficult to even allocate a racing based on form abroad, he was last seen when beaten less than five lengths by the machine that is Able Friend in a Listed race at Sha Tin, while earlier races saw him competing at Group One level behind Able Friend, Dan Excel, Variety Club, and Ambitious Dragon, all star names at home and surely better than your average Kempton runner? Risky as it is, if we take Able Friend’s below par effort at Ascot this summer as a yardstick we would still rate Jimmy Fortune’s mount at about the 113 mark in which case he is the likeliest winner – though fitness could be an issue after seven months or so off the track via quarantine, settling in time, and so on.
On paper, Chookie Royale (11/4) is his nearest rival and only rated a pound inferior, and arrives here with a distinct fitness advantage having raced at Kempton over a furlong less last month. One win and two seconds from four races here show a liking for the surface that cannot just be ignored, while six wins six seconds and four thirds from just the twenty four starts over this sort of trip suggest he will be right at home today. That said, he doesn’t win that often these days and may be feeling his age now with a victory over six at Chelmsford in February his first since March 2014, and good as he is, reliability is no longer his middle name.
In theory, then others have it all to do at the weights, but Marco Botti will be hoping for a big run from Grey Mirage (4/1) who is the only entry with winning form last time out. Admittedly, “last time out” was at Lingfield back in early April, so he is another with possible fitness issues, but he is the only improver we can find in this trappy looking contest (most of his rivals are certainly going backwards), and could well go on from here to enjoy a highly successful winter campaign on the polytrack, which we feel he has been specifically saved for.
Andrew Balding is an excellent trainer and he tries a hood for the first time on Intransigent (9/1), but it will need to work miracles and improve him by at least seven pounds to assure him of success. Rated 107 on the turf (was as high as 110), he is a few pounds below that on the all-weather surfaces, but has won twice here and twice at Lingfield, so he obviously handles it well enough. His last four runs have been in Listed class and include a head second to Dusky Queen at Chester, and if the hood wakes him up enough to repeat that sort of run, then he arrives here with every chance for jockey Oisin Murphy, who has won on him twice before, though we won’t know for sure until they pass the line.
Our last choice today will be the David Elsworth trained Justice Well (6/1), not the best form horse in the race but as a three year old, possibly open to a lot more improvement. A son of Halling, there is every possibility he will improve with age like his father, though on what we have seen so far, he will be struggling for a place. After winning first time out as a two year old he was stepped up to Listed class on his only other run before being put away for the Winter with high hopes, but they have all but disappeared so far. Two handicap “also rans” have been followed by a couple of places in lower class conditions races, both over this seven furlongs but both when running on when the race was won. Yet to race on the artificial surfaces, on breeding there is no reason to believe he will be inconvenienced and he may even enjoy it more than the softer surfaces he has been racing on via the turf.