KAIZER (1.25) can give the locals plenty to smile about in the opener at Kelso on Sunday.
Alistair Whillans has his team in good order and Kaizer will appreciate the return to two miles after a respectable fourth to Chapmanhype here over 2m 5f. The five-year-old bolted up by 15 lengths over course and distance in a novices’ hurdle last October and should have the measure of Playa Blanca.
Seamus Mullins has placed his gelding shrewdly to win three races on the bounce but Playa Blanca is up 8lb for his latest success. Neil Mulholland saddles Dream Machine, third at Southwell on his first run back from a wind operation.
STAY HUMBLE (2.30) has had a couple of runs for Pauline Robson since vacating the Willie Mullins yard and his third to Stradavarius Davis and Coole Hall at Catterick would give him a big chance if wound up this 3m 2f handicap chase.
Damiens Dilemma had Shanroe Steet almost ten lengths adrift in third when scoring on his return at Hexham. His 2-2-1 form figures from three visits to Kelso last season underline his effectiveness at the track.
BLAKENEY POINT (3.00) was a decent stayer on the flat for Roger Charlton and made an eye-catching hurdles debut at Bangor for the McCain team when justifying short odds by 11 lengths. Olly Murphy’s Sedgefield bumper winner Linelee King is open to plenty of improvement.
With no Ghaiyyath or Love going to post, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe appears very much at the mercy of Enable (3.05), even though her short odds make limited appeal.
History-seeking Enable apart, there is a distinct absence of pure class this year, although the very testing ground is a great leveller at Longchamp. Something very similar was written 12 months ago and Enable did lose, although Frankie Dettori admits he probably went for home too soon. More circumspect tactics in the mud should see her prevail.
There are plenty of each-way alternatives in the 15-strong field and Aidan O’Brien’s late decision to supplement Epsom Derby winner Serpentine will surely ensure a strong end-to-end gallop. I’d be surprised if the catch-me-if-you-can tactics which proved so fruitful on the Downs were not re-employed on Serpentine.
Given underfoot conditions, the most popular each-bet is likely to be Stradivarius, with no stamina concerns. Whether he can master Enable is doubtful, but he should run his usual honest race.
German Derby winner In Swoop and Sottsass will have a following, while Mogul is my idea of a three-year-old that can hit the frame at a big price. He won well in France last time and has plenty of solid form in the book. For me, it's race to watch and enjoy without a serious wager.