Kempton takes centre stage on ITV4 on Saturday and Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway returns with his best bets at the track.
Scriptwriter @ 7/4
Boothill @ 13/8
Jacamar @ 22/1
Hansard @ 5/4
The Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (1.50) has been won by some top-class juveniles in the past and last year it went to the Milton Harris-trained Knight Salute. Turn the clock forward 12 months and Scriptwriter looks like another star performer for the in-form Harris stable.
Scriptwriter was a classy performer on the Flat in Ireland and he has quickly transferred that form to hurdling, winning two of his three starts at the discipline including in a Grade 2.
The selection followed that victory at Cheltenham with a win on the Flat at Wolverhampton and there was nothing wrong with his latest second to Comfort Zone back at Cheltenham.
That race was run in a good time and Scriptwriter should have more to offer in what looks a decidedly weaker race than he contested last time. He can be expected to bounce back.
The Pendil Novices’ Chase (2.25) is another contest with a small but select field and Boothill should have too much class for these rivals if he returns to the form he has shown this season.
He was beaten only eight lengths by the top class Jonbon when second at Sandown in December and followed that with a win in the Wayward Lad at this course over Christmas.
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Boothill comfortably beat the subsequent Betfair Hurdle winner Aucunrisque that day and it was a shock when he was second to Tommy’s Oscar in the Lightning at Doncaster last time.
He still beat the rest by a long way that day and the step up in trip might bring out further improvement from Boothill, who is strongly fancied to get back on track on his return here.
The 3m handicap chase (3.00) is the feature on Saturday and Jacamar appears to have sound claims for the aforementioned Harris now that he returns to the scene of one of his best runs.
Jacamar produced his best piece of form at this track last season when landing a traditionally hot novice handicap chase at Christmas and he returned to form at Leicester last time. He had dropped to the same mark as for that Kempton success and cashed in on his fall in the ratings.
He is 5lb higher here racing from 2lb out of the weights, but is evidently well suited by this track and there is a strong chance he can build on that latest victory on his return to the venue.
Good ground suits Jacamar and he is a lively outsider in a race that looks wide open.
The Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (3.40) doesn’t look like a strong race and it will be a big surprise if Hansard can’t build on his recent form. He rates the banker of the afternoon.
Hansard has won both starts over hurdles since joining the Gary Moore stable from Ireland and he gave 7lb and a beating to the classy Master Chewy on his last start at Plumpton.
He travelled well that day and powered clear from the last to win going away in the style of a Graded horse in the making and he gets the chance to prove he is up to that level in this race.
He won his first race in Britain on good ground, so these conditions shouldn’t pose any problems, and Hansard looks capable of improving again on just his third run for this yard.