Back To Normality, Today

First is off at 15h30

After the highs at Cheltenham during the week, normality returns on Saturday afternoon with handicap racing at Kempton Park.

The Kempton card is sponsored by Virgin Bet and track conditions are forecast as good to soft.

Seven races are carded starting at 15h30 with the running of a novices’ handicap chase over 2-miles 2-furlongs.

Stormin Crossgales is only 1lb worse off after beating Cap Du Mathan at Wincanton in November and should confirm that form with the step up in trip expected to suit. The progressive Whistleinthedark is two from two over the larger obstacles and he looks a bigger threat to the Tom George trained 6-year-old.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has a good winning strike rate at the course and his 7-year-old Outlaw Peter, a course and distance winner, is a tentative pick in the handicap hurdle (16h05). Run over an extended two and a half miles, this competitive handicap includes last year’s winner Press Your Luck, Yorksea trained by Gary Moore and bottom weight Moveit Like Minnie. They all have realistic chances in an open race.

Thirty-five minutes later, thirteen runners compete in the Virgin Bet Fives Handicap Chase (16h40) over two and a half miles. Course winner Fidelio Vallis made a pleasing enough start for Harry Derham at Musselburgh, while the Paul Nicholls trained Complete Unknown ran a really good race when runner-up behind the highly rated Galia Des Liteaux in a Group 2 at Warwick.

Vicki Vale was fourth behind You Wear It Well in a Sandown Group 2 last month, and with the winner going on to take Group 1 honours at Cheltenham during the week, she must be respected in the Virgin Bet Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (17h17). The danger could be Zestful, an impressive winner at Catterick on debut last month as she receives 10lbs from Vicki Vale. The market should be checked on this unknown quantity.

Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old Issuing Authority looks the one to be with in the Virgin Bet Fives Novices’ Hurdle at 18h25. Theatre Man and The King Of Ryhope have form in the book but both may struggle to give 7lbs to the selection.

Montecam, a half-brother to the great Altior, could be the play in the Virgin Bet ‘Junior’ Flat race at 19h00. Only two of the field of 17 have had a run and this well-bred runner for Nicky Henderson could get off the mark on his debut.

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