Great Britain Preview: Plays for Kempton Feb. 25

February 24th, 2023

With Cheltenham a little more than two weeks away, there aren’t as many top horses running this week, but Kempton Park does still host three Grade 2 events and a rich handicap.

We will focus on the handicap and offer some spot plays for the others.

Race 3, 10:00 a.m. ET: Coral Trophy Chase (Handicap), 3 miles, open steeplechase

Trophy Chase Selections

  • #8 Our Power
  • #12 Cap Du Nord
  • #3 Clondaw Castle
  • #5 Annsam

Trophy Chase Wagers

There are some high-class horses here — it even includes a three-time Grade 1 winner in #1 Frodon, who admittedly looks past his best and has a big task at the weights here.

Arguably the two best chances are #8 Our Power and #12 Cap Du Nord, and they have come in with contrasting preparations. Our Power has run just once this season, winning the Gold Cup Handicap Chase (G3) at Ascot back in late October. This race, in which he finished third last year, is clearly his big aim, and he should be respected for that.

Cap Du Nord won this last year, but he’s been much busier in the meantime. He’s run five times this season, and after a mixed preparation, was back in the winner’s enclosure just last week in the Swinley Handicap Chase (G3). It was an easy victory, but can he back up in seven days?

Among the others, #3 Clondaw Castle won this two years ago and put up a nice effort at his first run in more than a year when second to Pic D’Orhy in the Silviniaco Conti Chase (G2) Jan. 14. Also worth a thought is #5 Annsam; he was easily beaten by Our Power at Ascot in October but put up a much-improved performance winning by 17 lengths at Kempton in a handicap Jan. 14.

I’m going to support Our Power and look for exactas with the others.

Race 1, 8:50 a.m. ET: Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (G2), 2 miles, 4-year-old hurdlers

#1 Scriptwriter has a five-pound penalty to deal with against his opponents here, but he is the best-performed, having won the Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle (G2) in November and finishing second to Comfort Zone in the Finesse Hurdle (G2) Jan 28. He doesn’t have to worry about Comfort Zone here.

  • $10 win/$20 place: #1 Scriptwriter

Race 2, 9:25 a.m. ET: Pendil Novices’ Chase (G2), 2 9/16 miles, novice chasers

Not the strongest field for a Grade 2 chase. Most of the horses are on the improve, but I’ll go with the most proven horse in #1 Boothill, whose only defeats this season have been behind Grade 1 winners Tommy’s Oscar and Jonbon. He won the Wayward Lad Novices Chase (G2) on this course Dec. 27 and can score again.

  • $20 win: #1 Boothill

Race 4, 10:40 a.m. ET: Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (G2), 2 miles, novice hurdlers

The best two-mile novice hurdlers are skipping this with Cheltenham a little more than two weeks away, so there is little top-level form among these runners. The only graded stakes form is from #5 Ukantango, second in the Sharp Novices’ Hurdle (G2) at Cheltenham Nov. 13, and he looks a good prospect here. The one to beat him may be #4 Rubaud, who put up a great effort under handicap conditions for second at Kempton Dec. 26. He failed last start, but the addition of a hood should help.

  • $10 win: #4 Rubaud
  • $2 exacta: box 4, 5