Betfair ambassador Paul Nicholls guides you through his team of runners on Saturday.
He is progressive and won his maiden hurdle easily at Exeter at the end of last month. We are having to run him in a handicap now because there are so few middle distance novice hurdles and I suspect his mark of 127 is on the steep side. But the more rain they get at Kempton the better he will enjoy it
He was bought to be a chaser and could hardly have been more impressive on his first start in this country over hurdles last month at Kempton. He was in control the whole way, jumped fluently and stretched clear for a decisive success. Kalif is very smart, worked great this week and has an obvious chance of defying a 5lbs penalty. We will see how he runs before making any plans about Cheltenham or Aintree.
Rated 72 on the flat he made a pleasing winning debut for us over hurdles at Taunton at the end of December. But this is a big step up in class for Swift Hawk who would not want too much more rain at Kempton and I wouldn’t be keen on running him if it gets testing.
He ran very well at Exeter thirteen days ago before running a bit green and drifting left after the last fence which probably cost him victory. Soft ground will suit Tahmuras who doesn’t have a penalty in a race I always like to target. I’d say he has a nice chance if this race doesn’t come too soon after Exeter.
I was expecting a bit more from him a month ago at Newbury where he travelled strongly before fading into fourth place late on. He is a horse for next season, has a mountain to climb against the best of this field, and if it gets too soft at Kempton I’ll be tempted to withdraw him.
He has improved with experience, is growing up all the time, and put up his best performance in cheek pieces when cruising clear at Musselburgh early this month. We found he had a problem with ulcers after a below par run at the same track on New Year’s Day. Panjari is definitely going the right way and must have a leading chance despite carrying a 3lbs penalty at a track which is quite similar to Musselburgh. We are very happy with him.
I’ve been keen for while to step up Il Ridoto to three miles and a flat track like Kempton seems the right place to try it. He is always staying on strongly and Harry Cobden is also keen on giving him a go at three miles. It’s not the strongest field of runners for such a valuable pot and if he gets the trip he’d have a big chance.
He has been disappointing and has questions to answer after being pulled up on his last two starts. But the ground was totally unraceable at Aintree and he was going all right next time at Newbury until Harry pulled him up because he thought he’d knocked himself after a mistake. But he was fine afterwards so you can put a line through that run. We are trying cheekpieces to help sharpen him up and on the form of his decent run for us at Warwick he would be a big player over an easy two and a half miles.
The plan is for him to run at Chepstow but if that is off he will switch to Kempton.
He is a nice type by Clovis du Berlais but needed a wind op in August. He has taken time to come to himself, is ready to start now and like most of my bumper horses is some to improve a fair bit for the experience.
I was delighted with his racecourse debut three months ago at Wincanton where he led three furlongs out and looked like winning until he was just chinned by the well backed favourite who is unbeaten in two runs. Roman Roy has a nice chance to go one better provided conditions at Kempton don’t get too testing.
I’ve been pulling my hair out with Monmiral because things haven’t gone to plan for him as we hoped over fences. So he is back over hurdles for the rest of the season and we are hoping that cheekpieces can spark a revival which can see him qualify for the Pertemps Final by finishing in the first four.
He is also declared at Kempton just in case Chepstow is called off. Quel Destin is a legend of a horse. He won five times as a juvenile for us including the Grade 1 Finale Hurdle at this track in December, 2018, is still going strong aged nine and is on a hat trick after winning at Chepstow seven weeks ago. He loves it round Chepstow and although the trip of two miles is arguably on the short side for him, with the ground likely to be borderline unraceable he is sure to be staying on strongly.