THERE could be last minute Cheltenham Festival clues at Kempton Park on Saturday.
Our man Jack Keene has picked out his best bets on ITV and is hoping to fire in a few more nice-priced winners.
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Last call for any horses who want to book their ticket to Cheltenham.
There could be some genuine Festival clues on show at Kempton on Saturday – plus several good bets to be had of course.
In the first race on the card, before ITV go on air, I'll be having a few quid each-way on TEDHAM (1.15 Kempton).
He looked a very nice prospect for Jonjo O'Neill a couple of years ago, with a fine third in a big Grade 3 handicap at Haydock among the pick of his efforts.
He jumped terribly on his chasing debut at Exeter in November and was quickly sent back over hurdles at Wincanton on Boxing Day, where he hunted around to get his confidence back and stayed on for a distant fourth.
He has been freshened up for a spring campaign and takes a drop in class on his return, with the O'Neill yard in cracking form.
Jonjo Jr takes over in the saddle which, no offence to Kevin Brogan, is a big upgrade, and Tedham is on a very, very tempting mark of 128. He has a tongue-tie refitted today.
The Adonis can be an up and down race, but this year's renewal is fascinating.
All eyes will be on classy Flat recruit Tritonic, who stayed on strongly in the dying strides to collar Casa Loupi on hurdling debut at Ascot a month ago.
Both of those horses command respect, but I'll be siding with HONNEUR D'AJONC (2.25 Kempton), who should have won a hot C&D juvenile hurdle over Christmas.
He was travelling best and held a length lead over Nicky Henderson's Heross Du Seuil when capsizing at the last.
Prior to that, he had finished a fine second on hurdling debut behind Paul Nicholls' monster four-year-old Monmiral at Exeter.
The form of the Kempton race has proven red-hot; Heross Du Seuil was second to a smart one at Warwick on Friday, runner-up Her Indoors won a Listed hurdle at Donny and the fourth Royaume Uni has won a bumper and on the Flat.
The improving Honneur D'Ajonc is clearly a horse who is suited by this sharp track – I have my doubts whether it will play to Tritonic's strengths – and he brings the strongest form to the table. End of discussion.
Saturday selections (advised odds correct at time of writing)
1.15 Kempton – Tedham 0.5pts EW @ 10-1
2.25 Kempton – Honneur D'Ajonc 2pts WIN @ 4-1
3.35 Kempton – Cap Du Nord 2pts WIN @ 5-1
- (Column started August 6) rolling P&L: +28.3pts
- Last week's tips
And as unoriginal as it is, I'll be sticking with the favourite in the Close Brothers Handicap Chase, as CAP DU NORD (3.35 Kempton) undeniably has plenty in his favour.
He bounced off decent ground to win easily at Newbury over 2m6f earlier in the season and then bumped into none other than handicap blot Royale Pagaille over C&D on December 27 (pulling clear of the subsequently victorious Double Shuffle in third).
He travelled like a horse still in fine fettle when third in an attritional Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster, when dour stayer Takingrisks came over the top late to land the spoils.
He has been nudged up a further 3lb for that defeat, but he couldn't ask for better conditions this weekend – three-miles around Kempton on good ground is the stuff of dreams for the eight-year-old.
Christian Williams saddled a welcome winner at Chepstow on Thursday to end a quiet spell, so here's hoping they go a good gallop and tee things up for the strong-travelling Cap Du Nord.
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