By Rachel Candelora
Even the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” was blocked by the snow last week and so Kempton’s featured conditions race for three-year-olds has been rescheduled for Wednesday evening’s card with once again two Triple Crown nominees, Gronkowski and Three Weeks, in the line up.
On Monday I was lucky enough have an extra day at Kempton, watching the Jumpers’ Bumpers card, but with a view towards this Wednesday’s action it may pay to tread cautiously given the way the track has to be prepared for the National Hunt horses.
The official going description of “standard to slow” probably underplays how deep the surface will be and it is worth noting that in the past, when Kempton has had a Jumpers’ Bumpers card shortly before a regular flat meeting, some fancied horses have patently not handled the surface and there have often been unexpected results.
Ran really well on handicap debut over course and distance last month, when equipped with a first time tongue tie.
He finished a good third behind Rock On Baileys, who was winning his third race in a row, with several of today’s rivals in behind.
Off the back of that, David Griffiths brought him to Southwell against older horses and he dotted up over the straight 5f, making all.
Off just three days and a with 6lb penalty, this son of Mayson has been wheeled back to Lingfield, against his own age group and where his front-running style suits the 5f distance.
Griffiths is a trainer who has an excellent record of wheeling back winners to strike again off a short rest.
Since being stepped up in trip this year Mambo Dancer has won three of his six races and has been placed in the other three – all over two miles or an extended two miles.
He is coming off a second place effort in the Hands and Heels Apprentice Final on Saturday over course and distance behind Author’s Dream who was winning his fourth race in succession.
Franny Norton, who has won on him twice, gets back aboard and his mount will not be beaten through lack of stamina.
For such a big two-year-old he did well to win on debut at Lingfield in December before running a huge race over course and distance to be beaten a neck by Bobby Biscuit, with the pair pulling clear.
Lawn Ranger was giving 4lb to the winner for his previous novice win and connections of Bobby Biscuit think enough of him that he is running in the Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Race later on the card.
Given the penalty structure, Lawn Ranger only has to carry a 4lb penalty, given he “only” won a novice auction, but I love this angle as more horses seem to win with the lesser penalty.
Unless one of the newcomers in the race put up an above average performance, Lawn Ranger only needs to run back to the level of his last race to go well again here and given his size he should only get better with each run.
Being that he is not with sexy connections he is likely to again be a bigger price than he should.
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This race at Kempton has very much been the plan for Gronkowski, with his connections having Kentucky Derby aspirations.
Since moving this son of Lonhro to the all-weather and adding blinkers, Gronkowski has won two out of two with his three-runner Newcastle success last time out being nothing more than a stepping stone to this race, although from a form point of view it is a boost that the second that day has since won.
Trainer Jeremy Noseda has said that this will be his last race in the UK before heading to the States to run in either the Wood Memorial or Blue Grass Stakes as his final Kentucky Derby prep. With plans like that, big things are expected of “Gronk” here.
Rachel's top tips for Wednesday:
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