With the fields for the Cheltenham Festival now beginning to take shape, there are still a few decent prizes to won before the four day Prestbury Park meeting and the BetBright Chase (formerly Racing Post Chase) at Kempton Park is one such event.
Contested over three miles, the Paul Nicholls trained BURY PARADE is the ante-post favourite. The 8 year old gelding is priced at 4/1 by Sporting Bet and won his latest outing at Ascot by a comfortable five lengths on heavy ground without being asked a serious question.
However, he has yet to race beyond an extended 2m5f and is a rather moody character, a trait which was evident when refusing to participate in a previous contest at Exeter. On his day he can be very good and has won at Kempton before, but there are questions marks about his temperament.
Stable mate Grandioso was beaten into second place by Bury Parade at Ascot and is now weighted to be at least on level terms with his conqueror. But once again his stamina over three miles is to be taken on trust with Coral offering him at 9/1.
Second favourite Ardkilly Witness should not be troubled by the distance and although he has proved his consistency over the previous 18 months, there is just suspicion that he lacks a genuine turn of foot at the finish. Despite this, he is well weighted at 10st 7lb and is available at 6/1 with William Hill.
Another contender is Standing Ovation who notched four consecutive wins during autumn before a disappointing seventh at Cheltenham. He has not featured in a race since and may also be inconvenienced by the more testing conditions expected at Kempton, but he is lightly weighed and offered at 10/1 by BetVictor.
Old warrior Planet of Sound is also a possible starter and returned from a nine month absence to score over course and distance last month. This race is a much tougher contest and he may find one or two quicker horses in opposition but the 11/1 at Paddy Power represents good place odds.
Among the other possible declared runners is Rajdhani Express who won twice during the spring last year but who last raced when fifth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
He is also unproven over the distance and is 12/1 with Ladbrokes whereas Midnight Appeal can produce the odd indifferent display but showed his well-being when a close second over course and distance in heavy ground last month. His odds of 14/1 with Boylesports are worth consideration.
Meanwhile up at Newcastle, reserves of stamina and an ability to handle testing conditions will be needed to win the 4m 1f Eider Chase.
The Nicky Richards trained Tutchec has recorded four wins from as many starts since October and appears capable of handling any type of ground. He is unproven beyond 3m 2f but still found an extra gear at the finish of his latest three mile race at Newcastle in heavy ground despite a last fence blunder. Odds of 10/1 at Skybet are good value for a reliable and progressive performer.
BetBright Chase – Kempton Park, Saturday
Eider Chase – Newcastle, Saturday
5pts Win – Tutchec @ 10/1 SkyBet
Planet Of Sound image courtesy meteorshoweryn.