Tom Stanley has four tips for Saturday's racing at Kempton and Newcastle.
Harry Fry’s runners appear to have seen off a quiet spell and he won the Betbright Chase a few years ago with a 7 year old running off a mark of 140. Opening Batsmen is back again this year, off that very same mark, but it is his shorter priced stable companion Thomas Brown who makes most appeal. This 7 year old runs off that magic mark, which would give him the chance to run in the novice handicap chase at Cheltenham under a penalty were he to win here, something Hunt Ball did a few years ago, and I suspect that’s the plan. He could easily have gone up higher having won last time but the handicapper has given him options and it’s interesting the cheekpieces go back on, which saw improvement when he was a hurdler. His hurdles form with Out Sam and Tea For Two looks very strong now, as does his Le Mercurey chase form, and it's surprising his current mark is still below his peak hurdles rating. Whilst he looks the most likely winner to my eye, Rocky Creek has to be worth a nibble at around 20/1. He was a sparkling winner of this last year from a horse that has since won off a similar mark, who reposes today, and this afternoon could be the time to catch him right in first time blinkers. 4lb higher than 12 months ago, he has reportedly come out of his disappointing Newbury run fine and the blinkers made a big difference to Silvinaico Conti last week.
Also at Kempton, it’s surprising to see Twelve Roses as outsider of the lot in the Pendil. He made a very encouraging reappearance, form that has been well advertised, but struggled at Cheltenham and then Newbury a few days later. I’m not fully convinced 3 miles is his bag, particularly on juicy ground, so the return to this trip is a big plus. The ground should be fine here and I believe they’ve had a little look at his wind, something which did Darna no harm at Cheltenham last year. He is risky but has been nicely freshened up and should certainly outrun his price.
The Eider has been a good race personally over the years and hopefully Cork Citizen can run a big race at a price this time around. The yard won this a few years ago with subsequent National winner Comply Or Die and, whilst this horse doesn’t fit into that bracket, the Pipe team do know how to win this and are probably in about the best form they’ve been all season. This horse is lightly raced and shaped for a marathon trip last time. That was his first run in a year so he’s entitled to come on for it and his jockey is well worth his claim. I was tempted by Summery Justice, last year’s 2nd, who has another young jockey well worth his claim in the plate but will stick with the 1 arrow.