Kempton preview: Bags Groove and Secret Investor make Pendil peach of a racePublished on: February 22, 2019Author: Jamie Clark
A small but select field of four makes for a fascinating renewal of the Pendil Novices’ Chase – the first of four graded races at Kempton this Saturday.
The market in this Grade 2 over an extended 2m 4f (13:50) revolves around Wincanton Rising Stars first and second Bags Groove and Secret Investor.
Harry Fry trains the former, an eight-year-old Oscar gelding who’s a three-time winner over fences. Bags Groove got the better of Secret Investor when making all and jumping well apart from the last to score in that similar grade affair by nine lengths.
He now meets the re-opposing runner-up off 5lb worse terms. Whether that is enough to reverse the form is open to question, but Paul Nicholls has won the Pendil 10 times since 2006 and Secret Investor has to be respected as a result.
The seven-year-old is less exposed over fences than Bags Groove, but on official figures is 8lb inferior. That leaves Secret Investor with 3lb to find on adjusted ratings which he may well do, especially as the Fry horse struggled in Grade 1 company over 3m here in the Kauto Star over Christmas.
It may have been just a bad day at the office for Bags Groove though, and he sets the standard here. A number of bookmakers can’t split the pair as best-price 2/1 joint-favourites, so a reverse forecast is the only way to have all the bases covered.
Of the other two in the Pendil, Castafiore also has Grade 2 winning form to her name and gets weight all-round.
As the Charlie Longsdon trained mare is on the same mark as Good Man Pat before any adjustments, she completes the tricast picture.
Angels Breath should reign Supreme in Dovecote
Nicky Henderson has a leading contender for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at next month’s Cheltenham Festival in Angels Breath bidding for back-to-back Grade 2 successes in the Dovecote (15:00) later on the card.
The unbeaten Dai Waters owned five-year-old was pitched straight in at this level over hurdles when landing the Kennel Gate at Ascot.
That sets a clear standard in this nine-runner field and Angels Breath should be capable of giving weight all-round at evens with Coral.
Bar the grey Shantou gelding and Scarlet Dragon, who was second to Global Citizen in this 12 months ago, it’s double figure prices for the other seven so there’s a lively each-way betting angle to this.
While Scarlet Dragon is a useful dual purpose, he probably doesn’t have the same scope as Angels Breath. Looking elsewhere, Rouge Vif chased home Mister Fisher here on Boxing Day and has won since, so at 12/1 with BetVictor has clear each-way claims for Harry Whittington.
Daphne Du Clos gets weight all-round as a mare and could come on for finishing a 9 3/4 lengths fifth to Scarlet Dragon on reappearance after a long layoff.
The stable companion of Angels Breath is 14/1 best with William Hill. Tolworth third Southfield Stone is back up in grade for Nicholls and, as he was only beaten 3 3/4 lengths behind Elixir De Nutz at Sandown, he could give that form a timely boost here.
He’s another that is 12/1 with betway having won his first two hurdles starts. It’s 16/1 bar those five and a few will have to disappoint if something else runs into the frame, while Angels Breath must win this to justify his place in the Supreme betting.
Glen Rocco well-supported for 888Sport Handicap Chase
The feature contest is the 888Sport Handicap Chase, a Grade 3 over 3m (15:35) in which Glen Rocco heads the market at 7/2 with Boylesports.
This Nick Gifford trained eight-year-old has a progressive profile and could defy a 15lb rise in his mark after bolting up by 23 lengths in a class 2 contest over course and distance last time out.
As Glen Rocco was a 2 3/4 lengths second to Glen Forsa at this venue on his previous start, and the winner has since landed the Grade 2 Kingmaker at Warwick, he must be respected.
Adrien Du Pont is also prominent in the betting for Nicholls and also a course and distance winner, having landed a handicap off top weight here.
The assessor has put the seven-year-old up 7lb for a 3 1/2 lengths victory which seems harsh. Adrien Du Pont’s handler is bang in-form, however, and odds of 5/1 with William Hill can’t be ignored.
Stablemate Modus is double the price with the same bookmaker, because he’s not the most fluent of jumpers and tries a staying trip for the first time.
This could be the way to breathe new life into the JP McManus owned nine-year-old who, judged on his Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle win over 2m 5f here a couple of years ago, should get home over this distance.
Modus also has a perfect record of two wins from as many starts at Kempton in his favour, so is definitely one to consider backing each-way or with fallers’ insurance.
Talkischeap and Double Shuffle have claims
Talkischeap, meanwhile, looks very interesting on handicap debut for Alan King after running some very solid races this season.
Although still a novice, this seven-year-old has twice placed within seven lengths of Kauto Star heroine La Bague Au Roi giving the full sex allowance away.
He then won a match with Theatre Territory around Doncaster and had to give On The Blind Side 6lb as a result over course and distance last time out.
As Talkischeap only went down about three lengths, again it was a very solid effort and an opening handicap chase mark of 145 may underestimate him at 5/1 with Paddy Power.
Rather Be has been a costly horse to follow for Henderson this season after being brought down when going fine in the BetVictor Gold Cup.
He was then only fifth in the similar grade Caspian Caviar Gold Cup also at Cheltenham last time out in December. While Rather Be doesn’t look the most reliable, Double Shuffle could have each-way claims on the pick of his form despite top weight.
Tom George’s staying chaser has won over course and distance and finished a length second to Might Bite in the 2017 King George VI Chase.
It;s been a long losing run for Double Shuffle since his victory here back in 2016, but a top-price 10/1 is worth considering while it lasts.
The remainder are all double figure prices with Didero Vallis the youngest and most likely to have the scope to pull off a surprise for Venetia Williams.