Our tipster Karl Hedley provides the odds for the week's races...
6-20 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF MAIDEN STAKES – 6 FURLONGS
Hills And Dales can finally shed his maiden status at the fifth time of asking. He was only just caught out over seven furlongs at Lingfield last time so this slight step down in trip is not wholly unexpected. He looks set to be Charlie Appleby’s only runner on the card and with Godolphin maintaining and excellent strike rate at this track in recent weeks, he has to be high on any shortlist.
Secret Glance has made pleasing progress in his two previous starts. Both have come over the minimum trip of five furlongs and this step up to six looks like a natural progression. Ed McMahon clearly feels that his charge will improve for this extra yardage and he looks the biggest danger. Harbour Patrol is beginning to look a little exposed now and the return to six furlongs looks an act of desperation by his trainer. A return to the polytrack may bring about some improvement for Richard Hannon, but others look set to suited better by it. Hills And Dales has proven his effectiveness on an artificial surface and he is taken to finally get off the mark.
7-40 BOOK NOW FOR BOXING DAY HANDICAP – 1 M 3 F
Thane Of Cawdor is a multiple course and distance winner who will appreciate this return to Kempton Park. He seems to save his best for this track as all four career successes to date have come here. Jenny Powell is a talented five pound claimer and she will bid to offset some of the weight that her partner has been burdened with. Thane Of Cawdor was upped in grade last time out and he has never shown anything like his best form on turf, so that run can be ignored.
Classic Mission is a consistent sort and has run up a sequence of four seconds on artificial surfaces. He has run well here in the past and despite edging up the weights he should give his running once again. Given that quite a few of these rivals are having their first run in a while, he could well prove to be the likeliest threat to the selection.
Gary Moore does well with his runners at this track so despite a layoff, Guards Chapel has to be considered despite a six month absence from the track. He is a useful dual purpose performer on his day and has the underrated Fergus Sweeney in the saddle. Thane Of Cawdor goes well for a new jockey and is well used to the undulations of this track. It will be of little surprise if he can notch up a fifth career win this evening.
3-10 CLARK WILMOTT HANDICAP HURDLE – 2 M 1 F
Thundering Home made the most of an error by Go West Young Man when collecting a good prize at Exeter last month. To his credit he was staying on in the closing stages when other rivals had cried enough and that tenacity paid off in full. That was his first run in four months and he is likely to strip fitter for the run. His stamina is assured given that he won over a couple of furlongs further last time and he also has plenty of winning form at two miles.
L Stig made a pleasing seasonal reappearance when runner up to the potentially re-opposing Curragh Hall at Ludlow last month. Henry Daly’s runners inevitably improve for an outing and he is will be expected to go close here. He could prove to be a thorn in the side of the selection given that he is still only a four year old.
Paul Nicholls has Vide Cave entered at this stage and he will need to show dramatic improvement on what we have seen so far in order to feature against proven handicappers this afternoon. He has been beaten twenty and fifty lengths in his last two races and he looks one to swerve despite a marked step down in distance. Thundering Home is once agin reunited with Tom Bellamy who can claim a useful five pounds and the duo look set to go very close particularly should any rain arrive.
2-00 STEEL PLATE AND SECTIONS NOVICES CHASE – 2 M 4 F 110 YDS
Deputy Dan made his reappearance at Fontwell a couple of weeks ago and although turned over at short odds, he will inevitably come on for that run. He was caught lacking for fitness by the Paul Nicholls trained Virak and that rival often goes well fresh. Oliver Sherwood’s six year old son of Westerner ran a fine second at the Festival back here last spring when beaten just over four lengths in the Albert Bartlett. That experience will stand him in good stead and Leighton Aspell is likely to have a much fitter horse on his side now that the cobwebs have been blown away.
Colour Squadron has talent in abundance and has been placed at this track in numerous good races in the past. He is the highest rated horse scheduled to line up here and he has to warrant serious respect. He made his seasonal reappearance at Newton Abbot where he was put in his place by Wonderful Charm. The front two pulled more than twenty lengths clear of Taquin De Seuil indicating that the form was quite strong. He looks the most obvious danger and will be a threat.
Urban Hymn ran well over an inadequate trip at Carlisle last month and will appreciate this extra half mile. He has work to do in order to reverse Festival form with the selection but he has a live place claim all the same. Deputy Dan looks to have a bright future and connections will be hoping for a return to winning ways this afternoon.