Kelso gets its moment in the spotlight on this low-key Saturday between Cheltenham and Aintree, and will stage some tricky contests, notably the feature handicap chase. Another win for the hat-trick is not beyond Le Reve, though he has managed to reach the age of 11 without previously stringing three successes together.
Left-handed tracks have not so far brought out the best in him, so Blue Flight (3.00) is preferred. From Nigel Twiston-Davies’ yard, this unexposed youngster caused an upset by beating Black Corton at this track three weeks ago and can prove that was no fluke.
1.50 Kelso She is faster than her three rivals but the fences can get in Kupatana’s way and she has ended up falling in two of her last three starts, under Nico De Boinville and Harry Cobden. Sean Bowen gets a turn today and must be looking forward to it. Clearly, she is not without risk but perhaps she has enough in hand to get around here without mishap.
2.05 Newbury A winner here on his only outing last season, Strong Pursuit fared remarkably well when third on his belated return to action this campaign, tiring late on soft ground. With a tongue tie fitted and on this drier surface, he can do better again.
2.25 Kelso Having returned from an absence of almost a year with a handy victory at Newcastle, Joke Dancer looks one to stick with. Sue Smith’s chestnut has gone up only 5lb, leaving him on a beatable rating, and was only a late withdrawal from the Coral Cup. He is preferred to Winston C, whose rating is not obviously lenient as he starts out in handicaps.
2.40 Newbury Paul Nicholls must always be feared in these races but it wasn’t clear that Friend Or Foe achieved a great deal on his British debut in late December and his handicap mark looks tough. The Alan King-trained Elysee ran a Grade One winner to a neck when last seen over hurdles and an all-weather outing should have him ready for this test.
3.15 Newbury A wind operation and the fitting of a tongue tie tell their own story about what happened at Uttoxeter, when Etamine Du Cochet threw away a winning advantage on her most recent appearance. This progressive mare has been given a very fair mark for her handicap race debut and the Skeltons can take advantage.
3.35 Kelso Aaron Anderson, a 7lb claiming amateur rider, won a couple of races on Tomkevi before they parted company at a late stage when last seen. Now Conor O’Farrell gets his chance and it would be no surprise to see the eight-year-old continue the progress he has shown at staying distances.
Bangor 1.40 Statuario 2.15 Shanroe Tic Tec 2.50 Flashjack 3.25 Lomachenko 4.00 Biddy The Boss 4.35 Cadeau Du Bresil 5.10 Unioniste
Kelso 1.50 Kupatana 2.25 Joke Dancer 3.00 Blue Flight (nb) 3.35 Tomkevi 4.10 Expresstime 4.45 Benny's Secret 5.20 Bullion
Newbury 2.05 Strong Pursuit 2.40 Elysees 3.15 Etamine Du Cochet (nap) 3.50 Gala Ball 4.25 Sunrise Ruby 5.00 Get In The Queue 5.35 Master Work
Kempton Park 5.25 Maisie Moo 6.00 Velvet Morn 6.30 Star Of War 7.00 Nooshin 7.30 Cardsharp 8.00 Treacherous 8.30 Lawn Ranger
Lingfield Park 2.00 Harbour Quay 2.35 Fields Of Athenry 3.10 Family Fortunes 3.45 Royal Birth 4.20 Sundiata 4.55 Tesorina
Tips by Chris Cook