The Betbright Chase, run over 3 miles at Kempton, doesn’t have a habit of throwing long-priced winners but, with just one winning favourite in the last ten years and winners at 28/1, 12/1, 11/1, and 10/1 in that period, it’ll do for us.
Astracad (50/1) gained a last gasp victory over 2 miles 3½ furlongs at Chepstow on his reappearance in October and has run creditably in defeat on all three starts since. He’s an infrequent winner, who’s yet to win beyond 2 miles 4 furlongs, but he should appreciate the drying conditions forecast for the South East between now and Saturday. He’s yet to even attempt 3 miles, but if he’s ever likely to stay the extra distance it’ll surely be on sharpish, flat track like Kempton.
Nigel Twiston-Davies other entry, Ballykhan (28/1), is still a novice, but is another who should appreciate faster underfoot conditions than when pulled up at Newcastle in November and could go well at generous odds. The 6-year-old remains 7lb higher in the weights than when winning at Chepstow in September, but jumps soundly and goes well fresh, so an absence of 91 days is less of a worry than it otherwise might be.
Opening Batsman (20/1) won this race off a 2lb lower mark three years ago and looked all over the winner on his latest attempt over course and distance, over Christmas, before weakening rapidly in the closing stages to finish only fifth of 15, beaten 18½ lengths, behind Last Samurai. Harry Fry’s 10-year-old also ran poorly on his only subsequent attempt, over 2 miles 4½ furlongs here in January, so he clearly comes with risks attached. That said, he’s equally well handicapped if anywhere near his best.
Selections: Astracad (50/1 with Bet365), Ballykhan (28/1 with Bet365), Opening Batsman (20/1 generally available)