Steve Hughes concentrates on the All Weather evening fixture at Kempton for both of his selections on Wednesday.
The heavy showers that have enveloped the British Isles this week are playing havoc with the going on turf and meant that my first selection at Pontefract was tailed off whilst the second was withdrawn given the sudden change in ground from good-to-firm to soft. In the circumstances I am going to play safe and go with the All Weather racing at Kempton where we know the ground will be standard.
Kempton 8.20: Jezza
He is not the easiest to win with these days, but over a favoured course and distance and with Richard Hughes booked, Jezza makes sense from an each-way perspective at Kempton this evening.
He has not won since gaining back to back victories at Wolverhampton last spring, stretching back 15 races but that includes six runners-up positions and three third places, so he continues to pick up prize money with regularity. A thorough stayer these days, he is coming nicely into peak form having been given a winter break.
He was a strong finishing second to Arashi here at the end of May, and whilst that rival has gone on to win again over course and distance, Jezza is 9lbs better off today. He again ran only strongly into third at Chepstow last time which proved his wellbeing once more as I believe he is a better horse on sand. Richard Hughes has been on board for those last two races taking his career record to 3223 on the gelding.
Kempton 8.50: Artful Rogue
Trainer Amanda Perrett makes a habit of farming these mid-range middle distance handicaps at Kempton. She has trained far more winners here than at any track in Britain over the past five seasons and Artful Rogue can make a winning debut at the course this evening.
The 3yo put in three promising runs on Polytrack at Lingfield during the winter season, learning plenty when sixth on debut over a mile, then only going down by a neck next time out. However it was his second place on his third run when stepped up to 10f that stamped him as a horse to look out for when sent handicapping.
He took in another maiden on his turf debut at Bath in May, again running with promise when third, but he was not overly fancied when entered for a handicap at Goodwood. Nevertheless he held every chance over a furlong out before fading over 12f. I suspect that at this early stage of his career, 12f might just be stretching his stamina and he comes back a furlong here. A return to Polytrack makes sense and with an already consistent record, he will only need a little improvement on his winter form to figure in this modest event.
1pt each-way – Jezza – 8.20 Kempton (13/2 BetVictor)
1pt win – Artful Rogue – 8.50 Kempton (7/1 Ladbrokes)