ITV Racing Tips: Matt Hulmes’ picks for each race

 | February 23 | 

8 mins read

kempton park racecourse jumps

This weekend plays host to the final few Cheltenham trials at Kempton where we usually see a decent juvenile turn up in the Adonis hurdle, but perhaps more clues for Aintree instead with the Coral Trophy and the Pendil giving good sighters for Merseyside in April.

There is also the £150k Winter Derby to look forward to at its brand new home of Southwell, giving us a nice mix of flat and jumps action in front of the ITV cameras this Saturday.

ITV Racing Tips - Saturday, February 24

  • 13:15 Kempton - Mark Of Gold @ 10/1
  • 13:50 Kempton - Kalif Du Berlais @ 10/11
  • 14:08 Newcastle - Gold Clermont @ 7/1
  • 14:27 Kempton - Arclight @ 4/1
  • 14:45 Southwell - Diligent Harry @ 10/3
  • 15:00 Kempton - Secret Squirrel @ 11/2
  • 15:20 Southwell - Lord North @ 13/8
  • 15:37 Kempton - Killer Kane @ 12/1

13:15 Kempton - Mark Of Gold @ 10/1

The opening contest of the day is a competitive handicap hurdle and I’m siding with last year's winner MARK OF GOLD at a double-figure price.

Gary Moore’s charge followed up that win with a gallant seventh in the Martin Pipe at the festival, and although things haven’t gone to plan this season as yet, a return to Kempton and soft ground could make the difference for an in-form yard.

Nicky Henderson saddles the top three in the weights including former Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills, while it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a better run form course winner No Ordinary Joe.

Samuel Spade was sent off just 9/1 for the Lanzarote over the same track and trip when down the field, but the Pauling yard are in much better form now. Sea Of Invasion has been well backed for Chris Gordon and the unexposed novice has claims despite being 1lb out of the weights.

13:50 Kempton - Kalif Du Berlais @ 10/11

As I mentioned at the top of the piece, the Adonis usually throws up a Triumph Hurdle candidate and there will be lots of intrigue surrounding this year’s renewal.

Paul Nicholls has won two of the last eight renewals and KALIF DU BERLAIS has an excellent chance of making it three in nine.

His easy course and distance victory six weeks ago marked him out as a useful juvenile, and the form has been franked with the third and fifth winning since. He is 20/1 for the Triumph Hurdle and those odds will tumble if he is impressive again.

Givemefive is part owned by golfers Graeme McDowell and Brooks Koepka and he holds Swift Hawk on a line through Orchestra who he slammed by eighteen lengths at Warwick last month.

He looks to be the main danger although Irish Derby fourth Peking Opera is not passed over lightly after a winning hurdles debut at Sandown but he’ll need to jump better in this quicker test.

14:08 Newcastle - Gold Clermont @ 7/1

The Eider is the third-longest race in the calendar over jumps and with prevailing heavy ground provided, it will not be for the faint-hearted this year.

The Galloping Bear is off the same mark as when chasing home Kitty’s Light last year but has shown nothing in three starts since. Joe Anderson’s 5lb claim is advantageous though if showing more sparkle.

Anglers Crag has been a revelation since swapping the South West for North East, rattling off a hat-trick and while he has form on heavy ground, mixing it with this trip is a different proposition. Fenland Tiger is weighted to reverse Carlisle form with Anglers Crag on 7lb better terms, and won at the track last month on heavy ground.

He enters calculations but the tentative vote goes to GOLD CLERMONT who makes the long journey up from Sussex.

He has won two of his last three over marathon trips and was travelling well when a bad mistake at Plumpton halted his progress in the Sussex National. He is a relentless galloper off a very low weight and should still be going when others have cried enough.

14:27 Kempton - Arclight @ 4/1

The Pendil Novices Chase houses some potential stars of the future, and a wide open field of six will assemble in this year's renewal.

Blow Your Wad won a hotly-contested course and distance handicap on Boxing Day but was well held on trials day at Cheltenham. A return to Kempton plus the first-time cheekpieces should see him in a better light, but he was well and truly put in his place by Le Patron at Sandown earlier in the campaign, with Gary Moore’s runner going on to Grade 1 glory at the Esher track subsequently.

Tahmuras went close at Exeter two weeks ago with the winner of that contest now at the forefront of a festival handicap, but I am siding with the mare ARCLIGHT to land a four-timer for Nicky Henderson. Her recent Wincanton win was franked when the second won in Ireland on Thursday and this course winner can remain unbeaten over fences.

14:45 Southwell - Diligent Harry @ 10/3

HORSE RACING

This year’s renewal of the Hever sprint will be very different than the versions ran at Lingfield down the years, and looks a match according to the market which offers 10/1 bar two.

Clarendon House has had a fruitful winter, winning a Wolves handicap and then following up over this track and trip before Christmas. He was then fourth in a Group 2, albeit a weak one, in Meydan four weeks back, taking him to a new level of form. He is short enough in the market though and preference is for all-weather specialist DILIGENT HARRY.

Clive Cox’s six-year-old has form figures of 1121321911 on synthetics, the one poor run coming over in France twelve months ago. He was a listed winner at Lingfield last month and although he has yet to run at Southwell, he looks sure to go close here for a yard whose team are going well.

Thunderbear heads over from Ireland but he has not performed in either of his all-weather appearances while Consistent handicapper Juan Les Pins and course specialist Hiya Maite are respected but need to find more.

15:00 Kempton - Secret Squirrel @ 11/2

Paul Nicholls has won three of the last 10 Dovecotes and has his eyes on the prize once again courtesy of Panjari, although he is starting to look exposed after six hurdles starts despite an impressive Musselburgh victory three weeks ago.

There was little to choose between Lump Sum and Fiercely Proud when they bustled up Supreme fancy Jeriko Du Reponet at Doncaster, where Lump Sum was ridden confidently and Fiercely Proud is representing the red hot Pauling team, I’d imagine there’d be little to separate them again.

Preference though is for the gorgeous looking SECRET SQUIRREL, who was also behind Jeriko Du Reponet, but at Newbury. He was impressive over course and distance when keen earlier in the season and has lost nothing in defeat the last twice. He will appreciate the drop back in trip and looks worth following at around 6/1.

15:20 Southwell - Lord North @ 13/8

LORD NORTH 1

The first-ever Winter Derby to be run at Southwell and a high-class field of group winners and former classic favourites has been assembled at a very fair track, which hopefully will see every horse run its race and negate the hard luck stories that Lingfield sometimes throws up.

With a fairly run race, it is very hard to see past LORD NORTH retaining his title. He pitched up at Lingfield last year having not been seen since finishing fourth in the Eclipse, beaten just a length eight months earlier.

He has a longer layoff to overcome this time, an 11-month gap since winning a second G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan on World Cup night. He is a bona fide Group 1 horse here with upwards of 11lb in hand and he should appreciate the more galloping nature to Southwell which is more akin to Meydan than Lingfield.

He has three-and-a-quarter lengths over Tyrrenhian Sea on last year’s form, while it was disappointing Military Order couldn’t win the trial here against Enemy, but it was a step back in the right direction from this former Betfred Derby favourite.

Eydon is the interesting one, last seen behind the ill-fated Coroebus in the 2000 Guineas of 2022 and making his debut for Andrew Balding, but he has lots to prove with a near two-year absence.

15:37 Kempton - Killer Kane @ 12/1

The day's big betting race is the Coral Trophy, which has gone to Wales the last two years courtesy of Sam Thomas and Christian Williams who are both represented this year, including with 2022 winner Cap Du Nord.

He is one of the four course and distance winners lining up. Flegmatik is up just 3lb for beating Ultima fancy Chianti Classico here six weeks ago, while Tweed Skirt was also impressive when winning here over Christmas.

She returns chasing after following home stable companion Marie’s Rock over timber at Doncaster four weeks back.

The fourth one though is the selection in Joe Tizzard’s KILLER KANE. His dad won this race twice recently and KILLER KANE has a good course record that includes two victories and a fifth in this race last year off the same mark. He ran a fair third here on return from two months off a fortnight ago, and at a double-figure price, he rates a solid each-way pick.

The Anthony Honeyball trained pair Blackjack Magic and Forward Plan have already had fruitful campaigns and the handicapper may be in charge. Lord Baddesley has got plenty of ability and showed more on his most recent effort three months ago but a 3lb rise may be enough to prevent success.

 

Check out the rest of our ITV Racing Tips here.

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