If you are looking for a very likely winner to open the Kempton card at 5.40pm, John Gosden’s Buffalo River has been knocking firmly at the door in three career starts to date. But at a shade of odds-on, the son of Noble Mission may be worth taking a view against…
He ran to respectable Racing Post ratings (RPRs) of 87 on his first two starts on the turf, before going off at 2/9f favourite for a 7f novice race over this course and distance last time out in late September. He didn’t do a lot wrong, bar bumping into a useful James Tate trained newcomer, but in posting an RPR of 84, he didn’t exactly take a step forward either. The Derby entrant will probably win by weight of experience and form to date alone in a race lacking both all round, but there is one horse I’d be keen to have on side from an each way perspective.
Charlie Appleby is an absolute stud when it comes to firing in Kempton winners, having saddled up 59 of them from 194 (30.41%) runners the past 3 years. He’s only sent out 6 runners in the past 7 days, but 2 of them have won and jockey William Buick is also in terrific form of late. So the recently gelded Golden Valour has to have decent claims here. He was well backed at Yarmouth the last day, but lost his footing early on and with it went his chance. He’s surely a good deal better than the RPR of 65 he was able to show there and his sire Kingman – enjoying a superb first crop season – is also amongst the winners on this All-Weather surface, which is encouraging.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Sovereign Grant is the obvious one to land Division II of the same 7f Novice race at 6.10pm. He’s a Kingman 2yo too and showed plenty on his Sandown debut when 4th to Rajinsky, before fluffing his lines at 4/6f in Yarmouth last month. Owned by The Queen, the colt is unfurnished and will probably develop into a considerably better 3yo, but he may have nestled upon a fairly good opportunity here.
The 3yo Maiden contest over 1m3f at 6.40pm can go the way of Ralph Beckett’s nicely bred 3yo gelding Silver Crescent, who is a full brother to the Willie Mullins’ trained and Rich Ricci owned smart dual-purpose performer Low Sun (who will win the Cesarewitch by the way). Ralph Beckett’s stable is in good form in the last month and this 3yo will appreciate this one furlong step back in trip under Harry Bentley. Casper The Cub and Don’t Look Down are legitimate threats in what looks an interesting battle on paper, but Silver Crescent fares very well on the statistical ratings I use (RatingTheRaces, top rated), his form is sound and you’d have to be hopeful of a big run tonight.
Dark Side Dream was a little lonely in front in the final furlong here last time out, but put the race to bed quite comfortably under De Sousa and although he doesn’t habitually follow up one success with another, he must have very fair claims again, this time under Josephine Gordon, who has ridden the horse five times in the past. Chris Dwyer’s veteran 6yo has a 2-2-6 record around Kempton Park and will be able to secure a handy position from stall 6. A 2lb rise for that win leaves him on a mark of 77 here, but he’s ran to 80+ RPRs on 5 of his last 6 starts, which gives encouragement that he can be very competitive in the 7.10pm, despite this mild rise in class.
Dragon Mountain likes to go forward in his races, but Josephine Gordon may have to exercise a little more patience aboard Hugo Palmer’s colt in the 7.40pm. He does arrive in better form than most here though, having won his last two races at the Sunbury venue and I suspect he won’t be running in 0-80 races for long. Jeremy Noseda’s Cenotaph has done nothing but improve on artificial surfaces of late and the former Aidan O’Brien trained son of War Front is unbeaten in three starts since leaving Ballydoyle. Breathless Times should give him a race of it in receipt of 5lb for this 6f Conditions Stakes – worth a cool £20,000 in prize-money – but in posting an RPR of 113 and a Topspeed rating of 96 last time out, this very useful 6yo marked himself down as a force to be reckoned with for the time being. He could be set for a trip to Meydan for the late winter months and will do well at the Carnival is maintaining his current level of form, and the horse has a clear opportunity to add to his tally tonight under William Buick.
The closing contest at 9.10pm is another quality Class 3 affair, this time a 3yo handicap for horses rated between 81-95. Charlie Appleby’s Auxerre is a warm order at the top of the market, but although boasting clear form claims, he does have plenty on his plate. At the prices, I’ll venture a punt on Sir Michael Stoute’s Elector, an experienced 3yo Dansili colt that has been keeping classy company all season. The drop to a mile makes for an interesting test tonight and I reckon it’ll see the horse put up a very strong challenge in the closing stages, given his ability to stay further. It is his second run after a wind op too, which is often a profitable angle to take note of.
You can read more from Kevin O’Malley and find the latest form, racecards, free tips & news on GG.CO.UK.
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