Race-by-race guide to Kempton on Monday: Spirit ready to raise game

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Sun 22 Nov 2020

Isn’t it always the way? You seem to wait forever for a Cheltenham Festival winner to run on a Monday and then two pop up in the space of 35 minutes.

Supreme Novice Hurdle winner Shishkin tops the bill at the Sunbury-on-Thames venue at 1.25pm and then, in the following race, Indefatigable, last-gasp wnner of the Martin Pipe in March, will strut her stuff.

Bobs Worth, Brain Power and La Bague Au Roi have been among high-profile winners at this meeting in the past decade or so, with Sire De Grugy chasing Bobs Worth home. It's usually a card well worth monitoring.

Here’s a guide to all six races, which you can watch live on Racing TV. Join us for Mark Your Card from 11am.

12.50: EBF Stallions 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle (Qualifier)

Future Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth beat 16 rivals in the race when making his hurdling debut a decade ago in this for Nicky Henderson but only three go to post this time, albeit that is one more than in 2018.

Henderson is seeking a fifth win in the race since 2010 and plenty will fancy Captain Morgs to add to that tally after he won on his hurdling debut at Ascot last month. Altior and My Tent Or Yours have been previous winners of that race for the trainer, which perhaps tells us something.

However, this test of speed may not be ideal; for him and the Kim Bailey-trained AJERO makes more appeal. He impressed when making all at Ludlow last time and may just get the favourite out of his comfort zone.

1.25 Racing TV Beginners' Chase

 Shishkin seeks to emulate Altior (Pic: Focusonracing)
Shishkin seeks to emulate Altior (Pic: Focusonracing)

The mighty Altior won this corresponding race on his chasing debut four years ago and it will be disappointing if his stablemate, SHISHKIN, who has already drawn comparisons to him, does not follow suit.

The six-year-old set the pulse racing last season and won the Supreme despite just about everything going wrong for him in the run.

His physique points to him doing well in this sphere and his CV includes a point-to-point success. He did suffer an early fall on his hurdling debut last term but his jumping of the smaller obstacles was fluent thereafter.

The obvious one to chase him home is Mick Pastor, a 137-rated hurdler who might have won on his chasing bow at Fakenham but for capsizing at the final fence. Shishkin has a rating of 159 over hurdles, which points to the gulf between them.

2.00 Racing TV Mares' Hurdle (Listed Race)

This looks a good opportunity for INDEFATIGABLE because she’s rated at least 16lb superior to each of her rivals but has only a 4lb penalty to shoulder.

The niggles ae that she is unproven over 3m and that her trainer, Paul Webber, has had just one winner from 47 runners (Flat and jumps) since racing resumed in June with Timeform estimating that only 41.7 per cent of his horses have been running to form.

I’m prepared to overlook those stats, though, because he hasn’t got many horses of Indefatigable’s quality in his yard and she could run well below her best and still win.

She’s got winning form over 2m5f and was so strong at the finish at Cheltenham, over an extended 2m4f on testing ground, that is difficult to believe she will not last this trip on a flat track on a decent surface.

2.35 Handicap Chase

Generous Day was initially chalked up at 16-1 but has shrunk to about half that price, which is hardly surprising given that he’s 1lb lower than when winning this race 12 months ago.

However, this looks a stronger renewal and he wilted quite quickly on his return at Stratford. He’s probably about the right price now.

The pair who make most appeal are Lock’s Corner and GETAREASON. Preference is for the latter, who was placed in Grade One company earlier in his career and drops into 0-135 company for the first time after shaping well at Sandown last time on his first start for Paul Nicholls after a year off.

Lock’s Corner beat all bar Honest Vic in a Pertemps Hurdle qualifier at Cheltenham last time and remains unexposed over fences, having won two of his three races in this sphere.

3.10 Wise Betting Handicap Hurdle

A visor has definitely helped Ratfacemcdougall but he’s been pushed up 8lb for his win at Musselburgh and, venturing south, that may be enough to prevent him following up.

The Domino Effect has offered plenty to build on here on his past two starts and should go well but MORNNG SPIRIT, a general 5-1, looks the one to beat after his solid third to the in-form Mint Condition over almost 2m4f on heavy ground at Bangor last time.

This extra half-mile poses a stamina question but his breeding points to him staying and I fancy he will enjoy getting away from testing underfoot conditions. He’s definitely one for your trackers because a mark of 117 looks favourable.

3.45 Join Racing TV Now Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle

A competitive finale with four of the six runners having won last time. Kevin Brogan is going from strength to strength in the saddle and has an in-form partner in THE TWISLER, who arrives here on the back of successive wins at Fakenham and Plumpton.

He’s gone up an aggregate of 11lb for those wins, to 122, but he was once rated as high as 104 on the Flat and this speed test will play to his strengths.

Pisgah Pike is in similarly good heart and has younger legs, but is priced up pretty defensively at around 5-4.

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