It has taken just one poor run for punters to forget about Crievehill (3.35), on offer at 20-1 for the Betway Handicap Chase, the race formerly known as the Racing Post. That seems an oversight in view of the drying ground at Kempton, which should allow him to show the ability that carried him to a 10-length victory at Haydock in November.
He attracted some interest for Ascot’s Silver Cup, days before Christmas, but the very testing surface that prevailed then was no use to him, for all that he jumped well and travelled enthusiastically for a circuit. Connections seem to have learned the lesson, as he was a ground-related non-runner at Sandown recently.
But the short break he has had will have helped and Crievehill still looks fairly treated on his new mark. He can give Nigel Twiston-Davies another success in a race he won a decade ago with Razor Royale. Black Corton and Double Shuffle have place chances.
1.15 Kempton Commanche Red is respected but Master Tommytucker is an exciting talent and the removal of the hood may allow him to take another step forward.
1.50 Kempton As ever, the Adonis features plenty of unexposed types but Solo’s French form makes him the most promising prospect. Fujimoto Flyer was also going the right way when last seen, in September.
2.05 Lingfield Good Effort is on a roll and a natural choice of favourite but Furious may be worth a second look. She did well when dropped to this trip in the autumn and was probably in need of a break when last seen.
2.25 Kempton While it’s great that the Kingwell is being restaged, this is a low-quality renewal, or will be unless Elgin can show something like his best on this return from a long absence. Song For Someone might have been a shade flattered last time but he has been consistently good this winter and gets 4lb from Ch’tibello.
2.45 Newcastle The Eider is surely the right race for a horse like Petite Power, who managed to get outpaced in the latter stages of Warwick’s Classic Chase. He was a distant but very respectable third that day and can do better again in this marathon, a slight step down in class.
3.02 Kempton It has taken time, and a tongue tie, for the ex-pointer West Cork to show the ability his connections knew he had but his two Huntingdon wins were very encouraging and he might be able to surprise the fancied Buzz.
3.15 Lingfield Dubai Warrior surely has more to offer but it’s asking a lot for him to take on Bangkok, who was not hard pressed to break the course record when making his all-weather debut.