Kempton Preview, 27/12/19

Kempton
Friday December 27th

Kempton 3.05
Ladbrokes ‘Where The Nation Plays’ Handicap Chase
Class 2 0-145
3m – Going: Soft (Heavy in places)

Speredek*
Doesn’t seem to have returned in any sort of form and checked out readily enough behind Capeland in 2m1f handicap chase at Ascot last time (2nd in same race in 2018), definite lead from 4 out but driven along to maintain, readily swallowed up home turn, no more from 2 out, tailed off. Has won at 2m7f over hurdles in the past and hard to dismiss with confidence
Belami Des Pictons*
Useful at best but pulled up only start last season, shaping well for a long way before checking out at Sandown in February. Again ran well to a point when 4th to Happy Diva on reappearance in Betvictor Gold Cup last month, held up, as-good-as-brought down 2nd, still last pair when niggled along approaching 13th, struggling as vigorously pushed along in last trio at the top of the hill, started to pass beaten ones under a ride approaching home turn, well held 2 out, kept on under a ride from approaching last, took 4th close home. Dropped a little in the weights, must have some sort of chance of returning to form for the first time for two years
Cobra De Mai
In and out but won on good ground at Cheltenham in April,  led going best when pushed along approaching 2 out, led 4 lengths jumping, ridden further clear between last 2, some 8 or 9 lengths up last when beating Rocky’s Treasure. No form in three runs this season, pulled up on two of them, and though coming down the weights, could be best watched with both the usual tongue-strap and cheekpieces removed
Bigmartre
Best performance last season when winning Class 2 2m4f handicap chase at Perth in April, led 2 lengths going comfortably home turn, niggled along approaching 2 out, stayed on and led 5 lengths 2 out, pushed along, steadied into and hit last, pushed out from Gardefort. No form this season yet but did better last time at Aintree (6th to Riders Onthe Storm) than he did on reappearance in the Old Roan (couple of serious mistakes). Stamina a query (not bred to go 3m) but of some interest down a bit in the weights
Highway One O One
Yet to hit best form this season but ran well in Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial at Newbury last time although was off the bit for much of it, niggled along after 6th, slow 7th, tracked leaders starting final circuit, briefly pushed along 9th, ridden into 10th, firmly pushed along after 12th, made ground and chased leader 4 out, ridden, outpaced under pressure approaching 2 out, driven and stayed on approaching last, looked held when mistake, ridden and stayed on, stuck to task but unable to make a place last 100 yards, 4th to Bennys King beaten 11 lengths.  Stamina a query but might run well
Sametegal*
Useful chaser but three times has had to come back from long absences, including last time out when running for the first time for 665 days when runner-up to Bennys King in Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial at Newbury last month, prominent 8th, moved comfortably 5 out, niggled along home turn, ridden along 3 out, chased winner some 3 lengths down 2 out, sustained effort and about 2 lengths down last, put under pressure, one pace last 150 yards under driving, stuck to task till faded late. Worth another chance at this trip (half-brothers have won over 3m)
Princeton Royale
No form yet this season and was tailed off behind Espoir De Guye (and today’s rival Deauville Dancer) at Exeter on December 6th. Front-runner who looks best on good to soft ground or better and this going isn’t going to be in his favour
Deauville Dancer
In this race last year was tailed off behind Adrien Du Pont and today’s rival Just A Sting. Largely consistent and good comeback run behind Espoir De Guye at Exeter on December 6th, tracked leaders, niggled along and lost ground home turn, pushed along and stayed on to be nearly upsides 4 out, ridden 3 out, outpaced and couldn’t go with 1st 2 from 2 out, put under pressure, stayed on from last, took 2nd post, no impression on winner. A good-ground 2m4f seems to be the limit of his stamina and, given how his attempt over this trip went here a year ago, probably best passed over
Quarenta*
Largely progressive and successful in a three-runner race at Fontwell last time, hampered 1st and left chasing only remaining rival, in close to 9th and 10th, niggled along 14th as leader pressed on, in close to 15th, closed on Diplomate Sivola, within 2 lengths starting home turn, niggled along approaching 3 out, pushed along approaching 2 out, rather cajoled upsides approaching last, jumped it upsides, at most pushed along final 150 yards, found enough to pull clear last 125 yards. Tougher task this time but unexposed
Just A Sting
In this race last year was runner-up to Adrien Du Pont, chased leader 12th, niggled along 4 out, disputed lead home turn, firmly pushed along and stayed on to lead going to 2 out, put under pressure and hung left between last 2, stayed on, was joined approaching last, headed jumping, ridden, no more run-in, was being closed on by the 3rd last 75 yards. Shaped well on reappearance in Badger Beers Chase at Wincanton when 4th to Give Me A Copper,  closer order 14th, ridden into 15th and 17th, tracked leaders when mistake 4 out, pushed along, effort and every chance when mistake 3 out, ridden and faded approaching 2 out, no extra when mistake last, kept on. A repeat of that would get him in the mix
Vivas
Below form since winning at Warwick in September, making no contribution in Prelude at Market Rasen in October (in rear 11th and ridden, passed beaten ones from 3 out, made no contribution when 5th to Copper West) or at Kempton on November 25th behind Generous Day, 5th beaten 21 lengths. Much prefers better ground (three wins on officially good to firm) and probably best taken on
Fingerontheswitch
Been running okay, notably on last two starts, at Wetherby on November 16th (on toes in the paddock, chased leader 11th, ridden home straight, effort and led 2 out, looked the likeliest winner last but Bigirononhiship rallied and Fingerontheswitch was headed post), and Wincanton on December 5th when chasing Copperhead home. Going not ideal but isn’t out of this

Shortlist: Speredek, Belami Des Pictons, Sametegal, Quarenta

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