Minor the key to Kempton profit
Keith Hamer tipped the winner of the feature race at Kelso but his nap is still to come - he likes Asia Minor at Kempton.
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KELSO: 1.40 Conquisto, 2.10 Riguez Dancer, 2.40 Duke Of Navan, 3.10 Totalize, 3.40 Funky Munky, 4.10 Sacred Mountain, 4.40 Flemens Pride.
KEMPTON: 5.00 Brandywell Boy, 5.30 Diplomatic, 6.00 Hawaiian Dream, 6.30 Prince Of Passion, 7.00 ASIA MINOR (NAP), 7.30 The Absent Mare, 8.00 Harvest Mist.
THURLES: 2.20 Moiqen, 2.50 Mark Me Up, 3.20 Banjaxed Girl, 3.50 Tinakellylad, 4.20 Carry Each Other, 4.50 Coolking.
DOUBLE: Asia Minor and The Absent Mare.
The highly regarded Duke Of Navan has done very little wrong over obstacles this season and can continue his progress in the BetVictor Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso.
While the two-and-a-quarter-mile test has failed to attract a serious Champion Hurdle candidate, as it has done in recent years, it is still a nice event with each of the five runners holding some sort of chance.
Nicky Richards thinks the world of Duke Of Navan, who holds a Supreme Novices' Hurdle entry at Cheltenham.
Very useful in two bumper starts, he went off at short odds for his hurdling debut at Newcastle and duly obliged, before being far from disgraced in a warm Grade Two at Cheltenham in November when fourth to Dodging Bullets.
He won with plenty in hand here last month and looks a horse with a very bright future.
Totalize had the misfortune to come across subsequent Grade One Finale Hurdle winner Ruacana on his jumps debut for Brian Ellison.
However, following that second-place finish at Catterick, the former Luca Cumani-trained gelding went one better, albeit by a nose, at Musselburgh in December. Totalize was unsuited by the slow pace yet still got up to win and there looks to be more to come from him ahead of Kelso's Harry Hill Novices' Hurdle.
The Absent Mare can make amends for a narrow defeat over the course and distance by going two places better at Kempton.
Robin Dickin's five-year-old came with a late rattle under Luke Morris but had to settle for third spot, beaten a short head and a head by Llamadas and Bold Adventure at the Sunbury track.
The last two of her three career victories have come over this two miles and she can come up trumps back on her happy-hunting ground in the BetVictor Exclusive Non Runner Free Bet Handicap.
Asia Minor's first visit to this venue ended in triumph as she scorched home by two and three-quarter lengths from Evergreen Forest in a field of 14.
Trainer Dr Jon Scargill brings her back for the BetVictor Aintree Grand National Non Runner Free Bet Handicap.
She has been put up 6lb for that success but won with such authority that a repeat over this mile and a half is quite likely.
Course specialist Diplomatic has an obvious chance of finding the target in the BetVictor Non Runner Cheltenham Free Bet Handicap.
The Michael Squance-trained eight-year-old has won five times and filled the runner-up spot four times from 15 course appearances, and comes here in good nick, having edged victory by a neck here a little over a fortnight ago.
He is a pound higher in the weights now but with talented apprentice Robert Tart doing the steering, it would be a little disappointing if Diplomatic is not once again involved in the finish.
Roger Teal's Hawaiian Dream caught the eye making late headway on her debut at Kempton last month and she is an interesting contender for the Bet Europa League Now With BetVictor Median Auction Maiden Fillies' Stakes.
The three-year-old is out of a mare which has produced numerous winners and while she failed to get seriously competitive on her introduction, there was plenty to like about the way she finished her race.
The experience should have taught her plenty and the step up from seven furlongs to a mile should suit.