23 Feb 2019

888Sport Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

Today we are off to the park, and the Jockey Club's least-loved racecourse. Their disingenuous slogan for this meeting "it may be wet, it may be windy, but it will be wonderful". No thanks to you!

Good old Kempton has the last word, with a glorious forecast of 15 Celcius.

This is an excellent betting race, with a long history of wrong-footing the market. Ideal betting fodder for value players.

There have been 5 winners at double figure SP’s in the last 10 years, including 25/1 and 28/1. While the favourite in the last 3 years has finished 9th, 9th and UR.

There are several outsiders to pick from, but the one I've had my eye on is CATAMARAN DE SEUIL, who has shown this year that preconceptions about him being a purely a soft ground performer were misplaced.

The 7yo is in career best form and looks ahead of his mark over the right trip, even without improvement. He isn't going to Cheltenham because he needs a flat galloping track. Crucially, on decent ground, he also needs a trip and today he gets it all.

Catamaran was a fast finishing 2nd to Calipto last time out over an inadequate 2m4fl - staying on very strongly after the last, while giving that one a net 5lbs. In hindsight an impossible task - even after a 5lb hike and the loss of his 7lb conditional riders' claim, Calipto came out and won a Listed chase at Ascot last weekend. All the while Catamaran’s mark has not changed at all.

The key to this race is often simply being in good form: just backing every runner with a top 3 finish LTO since 1998, produces: 18 wins from 138 +42.83 to SP. Exactly half of those winners came directly from good races at either Aintree, Cheltenham or Wincanton, so he's a decent trends match.

Moreover, Catamaran de Seuil has a great race record: 1st or 2nd 10 times from 15 chase starts and he's with a quality trainer in Dr Newland. My main concern is whether the yard are firing yet after giving all their inmates flu boosters this month. Hopefully, they will shake that off this weekend.

If he does disappoint, I suspect that's all it will be and Catamaran will be of interest wherever he goes next. In the meantime, lets hope he can make a mockery of his 141 rating today.

3.35 Kempton, Catamaran Du Seuil 0.75pt EW 20/1, 3x1/5

** Ran impressively until getting tired - the yard aren't firing just now and compensation with this one will come in due course ** 

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at: WWW.ENIGMARACING.NET/RACING-FORUM

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