Kempton Can Be Theatre Of Dreams For Tizzards
Cue Card is a 6/1 shot to win the Timico Gold Cup at Cheltenham next month and is the shortest British-trained horse in the betting in what looks an Irish-dominated market and while we still have over two weeks to wait for the Cheltenham Festival, the connections of Cue Card may well have reason to celebrate this weekend with Theatre Guide.
Theatre Of Dreams
Winning the Gold Cup with Cue Card would undoubtedly be a dream come true for Colin and Joe Tizzard who train him and the Bishop family who own him and it would be a very lucrative dream too as he is on to win a £1,000,000 bonus having already claimed this season’s Betfair Chase and King George. But prior to all of that, the same connections will team up to try and snare the Betbright Chase at Kempton tomorrow afternoon.
Theatre Guide (8/1) is the selection in this £100,000 handicap chase despite the fact that he is going on 16-months without a win. Despite the lengthy gap without a visit to the winners’ enclosure, Theatre Guide may now be back at a winnable mark having been dropped 10lbs by the handicapper since he last won here at Kempton in November 2014.
Lovely racing weight
With just 10st6lbs on his back, Theatre Guide has got a lovely racing weight and his best form has generally come on good to soft ground which he is likely to encounter again tomorrow and a repeat of his run in the Hennessy at Newbury should see him bang there with every chance.
The nine-year-old was well beaten by Smad Place in the Hennessy but in fairness to the handicapper he acknowledged that by leaving Theatre Guide on a mark of 139.
In claiming second on that occasion Theatre Guide just outdone First Lieutenant who came back to Ireland to finish second in the Lexus Chase to Don Poli so there are positives to take out of that form.
Last time out Theatre Guide was again behind Smad Palace but this time he was a further 24-lengths back, however that was in the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase and they were meeting off level weights whereas, on handicap ratings, Theatre Guide should have been receiving 29lbs from Smad Place so I wouldn’t be reading too much into that most recent outing. Three of Theatre Guide’s four wins have come at right-handed tracks so that’s another little positive.
Rocky Road for Nicholls
If Rocky Creek (16/1) was to bring his best form to the table the 10-year-old would have to go close to winning this race for a second year in a row and he’s only running off a mark that is 4lbs higher than last year but he was very disappointing on his last two starts. His trainer, Paul Nicholls, also runs Virak (14/1) and Ruben Cotter (16/1) but they all look like they could struggle.
Harry Fry and Nigel Twiston-Davies both have two runners but Philip Hobbs’ Champagne West (4/1) is the obvious threat to the selection. Champagne West had some fine novice form last season and wasn’t disgraced on his handicap debut when finishing second to Village Vic in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup back in December.
The likely favourite can be forgiven for his last run when he met with some interference and nearly ended up on the deck before being pulled up, but Theatre Guide might be more battle-hardened for this type of contest and will hopefully justify our faith.
*Prices correct at time of publication.