ITV4 cameras will cover four races from Warwick and three from Kempton Park on Saturday afternoon, the main betting races being the Coral Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle (Kempton) and Wigley Group Classic Handicap Chase (Warwick).
The forecast going at Kempton is soft, while at Warwick it is currently heavy, soft in places. We have tips for all seven races.
“Tip of the Day” - Ashtown Lad (3.35pm Warwick) - 11/4 with Betfred*
Dan Skelton’s Becher Chase winner can take advantage of a lenient hurdles mark in a race where question marks hang over many of his rivals in this Pertemps Hurdle Series Qualifier.
1.30pm Kempton, 3m - Annsam (Next Best)
There is a decent prize to be won over either hurdles or fences with Evan Williams’ talented eight-year-old ANNSAM, who ran much better than his sixth place finish in Newbury’s valuable Coral Gold Cup would suggest.
Off a 2lb lower mark and over this 2f shorter trip, the mount of Adam Wedge is fancied to come out on top at the main expense of bottom weight Tile Tapper.
1.50pm Warwick, 3m - Galia Des Liteaux
A disappointing turnout of only four runners for this Grade 2 novices’ chase. Complete Unknown did us a favour when winning on his chasing debut at Ffos Las last month but Lorcan Williams’ mount may be better suited by a bigger field and is passed over in favour of the Dan Skelton-trained GALIA DES LITEAUX.
The mare made a couple of early bad mistakes before being pulled up in the Kauto Star on Boxing Day and is better judged on her comfortable chasing debut victory at Bangor when putting in an excellent round of jumping.
2.05pm Kempton, 2m 4 1/2f - Pic D’Orhy
A slightly disappointing turnout for this Grade 2 contest, a race in which it is hard to pick holes in the claims of PIC D’ORHY, one of two runners for the Ditcheat stable of Paul Nicholls.
Unbeaten in both starts this season, Harry Cobden’s mount won a similar race at Kempton last February and sets a clear standard with conditions to suit. Paint The Dream can chase the selection home.
2.25pm Warwick, 2m 5f - Ginny’s Destiny
Seven contenders for this Grade 2 novices’ hurdle and a race to treat with caution as it is impossible to completely rule out any of the runners.
The tentative vote goes to the Tom Lacey-trained GINNY’S DESTINY who will relish this stamina test on heavy ground more than most of his rivals and was particularly impressive over course and distance on his most recent start.
2.40pm Kempton, 2m 5f - Hermes Boy (Each Way)
There has been plenty of early money for Irish challenger Green Glory but I think the market has overreacted regarding Charles Byrnes’ charge who is likely to start bigger than current odds of around 9/2. In a wide open handicap I am siding with the lightly-weighted HERMES BOY (e.w.) from the in-form stable of Jane Williams (5 from 16 and with a strike-rate of 31% as I write).
The six-year-old has been slow to reproduce some decent efforts as a novice but has shown signs on his last two starts that a first victory of the season can not be far away. In receipt of weight from all of his rivals, David Noonan’s mount is likely to be staying on stronger than most at the finish.
3.00pm Warwick, 3m 5f - Commodore (Each Way) (Longshot)
This extended 3m 5f handicap chase is going to take some getting on the heavy ground. Few trainers relish such conditions more than horses from the Venetia Williams stable and I can see her veteran COMMODORE (e.w.) running a big race from the front on the gelding’s second outing of the season.
The mount of Charlie Deutsch ticks plenty of boxes as the grey is an excellent jumper of a fence, handles testing ground, stays well and is sure to come on for his first run of the season at Cheltenham when taking the field along for most of the race until lack of condition told in the closing stages.
3.35pm Warwick, 3m 1f - Ashtown Lad (Nap)
You have to think that the priority for several of the runners for this Pertemps Hurdle Series Qualifier is to qualify for the final at the Cheltenham Festival in two months’ time. The handicap is compressed somewhat with the participation of 2020 Pertemps Final winner Sire Du Berlais and in receipt of 19lb from Gordon Elliott’s charge, the Dan Skelton-trained ASHTOWN LAD makes plenty of appeal.
Harry Skelton’s mount won Aintree’s Becher Chase on his most recent start but is equally effective over the smaller obstacles, as when finishing fourth in a seriously competitive Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in 2021.
The Flemensfirth gelding is 9lb lower over hurdles compared to his chase mark of 144 and the nine-year-old should take plenty of beating in a race where question marks hang over most of his rivals.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.