Andy thinks the James Fanshawe team can strike at at Kempton this evening.
RAPID RANGER (NAP) (best price 11-8) was unlucky to bump into a useful sort in the shape of Mr Black at Kempton last time out, but he lost nothing in defeat and this looks like a golden opportunity for Gary Moore’s charge to gain just rewards at the third time of asking. Showing bright speed from the start at the Surrey venue, the son of Kyllachy took the field along at very strong fractions, so much so, that the speed figure of the race ended up being by some way the fastest furlong-per-furlong time on the seven-race card. Likely to be ridden in a similar fashion here this afternoon, this speedy youngster could be long gone before many of the field have had a chance to tie up their shoelaces.
GARDE LA VICTOIRE (best price 13-8) proved his current wellbeing with a decisive victory on his seasonal return in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las 17 days ago and, as a result, he looks primed to resume his chasing career at the very top level now that his confidence has been restored. Having landed his first three races over fences early last season, it was disappointing to see Philip Hobbs’ charge hit the deck on his final two starts in Grade 1 company at the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals, but largely speaking his jumping looked up to scratch prior to those capsizes and he doesn’t look the kind of horse to carry around too much previous baggage. Race fit and back over a course where he’s already enjoyed success, the son of Kapgarde has all the attributes of many previous winners of this prestigious prize.
MAZZINI (best price 2-1) still gives off signals to suggest he’s potentially better than his current handicap mark and he gets the chance to put that theory to the test returning to a track where he’s already shown a fair level of form in the past. A smooth winner of a well-run all-weather contest at Newcastle two starts ago, James Fanshawe’s charge never had a chance to justify the weight of money in his direction back on turf at Yarmouth next time out due to being impeded in the run and although he encountered a clearer passage at Ascot last time out, easy ground and a poor track position were valid alternative excuses. Back on an artificial surface with a strong pace assured courtesy of Interlink in the line-up (who clocked a good time from the front at Chelmsford last time), the Exceed And Excel gelding can return to winning ways.
Although LET’S TWIST (best price 11-2) made a bold bid to see it out from the front at Newcastle last time out, he left the impression that a ‘lights-out’ run over that stiff mile just stretched his stamina to the limit, but now returning to a C&D which saw him victorious three starts ago, Kristin Stubbs’ inmate has a fine chance of getting back on track. Making all the running that day, the son of Piccolo found plenty for pressure when looking vulnerable to the closers inside the final two furlongs and armed with the knowledge that he can be ridden in a similar aggressive fashion once again to maximise the best possible results, Shane Gray and his willing partner are relied upon to get the fractions right from the front.