Ed Chamberlin Saturday Verdict: Kimberlite Candy prevails at Warwick and sweet success for Southampton

Ed Chamberlin has his say on the day's action
Ed Chamberlin has his say on the day's action

Ed Chamberlin reflects on an eventful day at Warwick which was highlighted by victory for Kimberlite Candy in the Classic Chase.

A day at work is always better if Southampton can manage to win and I still can’t believe we’ve beaten Leicester City this afternoon, meaning we're now one of the in-form teams in the country!

It’s always fun at Warwick and I really enjoyed exploring the beautiful castle in the morning. Filming part one of the show in the main turret was a good way to start, if not a little hairy at times, before the racing action got under way.

On the track, this has been been a day for champions in the past with The New One, Willoughby Court One and One For Arthur all winning on this card in years gone by before going on to achieve some pretty special things.

I'm not sure we saw anything of that stature today but there was some terrific action served up on ITV nonetheless.

Full marks to the Lacey team with Kimberlite Candy who travelled sweetly throughout for Richie McLernon and was good value for his victory in the end. What a shrewd operator Tom is and full marks to him and his team who had their horse spot on for the big day.

Tom was keen to deflect praise on to his team back home after the race and a big winner like this shows everybody just what he and his staff are capable of.

I backed Captain Chaos each-way and he ran heroically in defeat, eventually finishing second having been given a brilliant ride from Harry Skelton.

For the second race in a row, Le Breuil caught the eye with the Grand National in mind and speaking to Ben Pauling after the race, he thought his horse did remarkably well to finish fifth in the end given he got held up in his run before staying really nicely.

If Ben's horses are firing by the time April comes around, Le Breuil is definite shortlist material for the Grand National.

Down at Kempton, in a race between two of the sport's most popular partnerships, it was Ryanair hero Frodon and Bryony Frost who came out on top.

Top Notch didn't quite fire for Daryl Jacob on this occasion but it was good to see Frodon with his mojo back ahead of the defence of his Ryanair crown in March.

After what has been a frustrating and quiet spell for Frost, it was just lovely to see that smile lighting up Kempton and ITV screens again.

Bryony Frost and Frodon after their Ryanair Chase win
Bryony Frost and Frodon after their Ryanair Chase win

I think everyone will agree that Rachael Blackmore is in a class of her own at the moment but Bryony remains such an asset to our sport and I look forward to reading the usual sniping on twitter with a wry smile on my face.

January and February always signals a lull in the racing world ahead of the spring Festivals and the last week or so seems to have sparked silly season, especially on social media, a lot of which is quite amusing, although Twitter seems to be becoming a more and more poisonous environment, which is a shame, and I, like many, now try to avoid it.

Last week saw the planning meeting with the team at ITV HQ in London for the Festival, Aintree and some early ideas for Royal Ascot. We’ve got lots of exciting projects in the pipeline and I’m particularly excited about the features we have lined up for Cheltenham in the first instance.

For a terrestrial television audience we always need good narrative and horses that resonate with the casual audience at home. At the moment we are lacking in that department, particularly in showpiece races like the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup.

More than ever before we need some standout out performances in the big trials over the next few weeks, particularly at Cheltenham in two weeks time, and at the Dublin Racing Festival, to spark these big races to life.

They have a low key feel at the moment compared to previous years but that can all change over the next few weeks.

The one race that’s crackling at the moment is the Ballymore Novices Hurdle with Envoi Allen set to carry the hopes of the whole Ireland like Samcro did a couple of years ago, while a strong home defence is also - as our commentator Mark Johnson would say - "taking dead aim".

ITV could also do with Altior bouncing back to form and Paisley Park bolting up in the Cleeve Hurdle. These types of horses are what helps make jump racing so popular with a terrestrial television audience.

On that subject, off the back of an interview I did with Saturday’s Sun newspaper, I was asked by countless people at Warwick where we stand with our contract with British racing, which ends at the end of this year.

I think everyone agrees that terrestrial coverage is crucial for the future of the sport and jobs across the board - from bookmaking and newspapers to training and breeding - are reliant upon it. Racing needs coverage to the broadest possible church and we are working hard to continue that relationship for years to come.

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