Easter To Arrive Early At Kempton On Saturday
Punters looking to pay for the Easter Eggs weeks in advance may be licking their lips at the prospect of Paul Nicholls’ Easter Day, who heads the betting for Saturday’s Betbright Chase at Kempton (3.45pm).
While some may see odds of 5/1 a touch short considering the 7yo was only third of four runners on his return on December, prior to falling last month, it is his novice form that stands out. If he returns to that level on Saturday then he will be thereabouts.
Not that favourites don’t have a good record in this race, however, with only one market leader obliging during the last 10 years…
Of the last 10 Betbright Chase winners since…
9 returned 12/1 or shorter, though 9 were non-favourites
8 carried 10st12lb or above
8 were British or French-bred (9%) – Irish-breds were 4%
8 won during their last three runs
6yo’s were 0-6 (all unplaced)
The fact all bar one winner returned 12/1 or shorter points up the chances of another Nicholls runner, Rolling Aces (12/1), who was runner-up in this very race in 2013, and has another crack off a 5lb higher mark. Nicholls also has Rocky Creek (12/1) entered, though he has a bit to prove having been pulled up when last seen 84 days ago.
Another fancied runner is Emma Lavelle’s Fox Appeal (7/1), an 8yo who was beaten over 1l when second in a valuable handicap chase at Ascot last month (2m5f, soft). A 3m winner over hurdles, he won over fences at Kempton three months ago and holds solid claims.
Also in the favoured price range is Lucy Wadham’s, Le Reve (12/1), who arrives having won a valuable handicap chase over 3m at Sandown three weeks ago (soft). This 7yo clearly loves going right-handed and won his only race at Kempton over hurdles, making him another expected to go well.
Lucinda Russell To Strike Again?
While those near the top of the handicap fared best in this historic chase down the years, it’s worth noting that the last two victors carried 10st12lb and 10st5lb, offering hope to Lucinda Russell’s Tap Night (12/1).
Russell was amongst the big-race winners last weekend, and this 8yo caught the eye finishing strongly into third place at Cheltenham last month (2m5f, soft). That Grade 3 handicap was a classy affair and it will be interesting to see if he can progress up in trip.
Victory during a runner’s last three outings was also a positive in this race, and Chartreux (12/1) did just that when landing the Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase at Punchestown last May (3m, yielding). Beaten 38l on his return last month, this 10yo should be sharper on Saturday, while Ardkilly Witness (14/1) won a handicap over C&D last month, prior to unseating behind Le Reve at Sandown three weeks ago. It’s possible a return to this track may see him bounce back.
But, we end with that man, Willie Mullins, who may have a possible runner in Dogora, last seen keeping on into fifth over 2m5f at Leopardstown last month. While he has yet to win over fences (0-7), it will be interesting to see if Mullins takes him over the Irish Sea for this prize.
Favourites may not have flourished in this race of late, but with Paul Nicholls scooping the big races this winter, Easter Day looks to have been teed-up for this big prize. He was unlucky when falling three from home last month and may gain compensation on Saturday.