Full race preview and free betting tips for the 2.20pm Magnolia Stakes at Kempton.
Alongside the official start of the Flat season at Doncaster, Kempton hosts a competitive all-weather card this saturday. The highlight of which is the Magnolia Stakes, a Listed contest run over 1m2f. This year’s renewal has attracted a small, but select, field of six runners. Here are my thoughts on each runner and my best bets.
This left-handed track tends to favour front-runners (especially in small field contests) despite the relatively long home straight. Last year’s contest went the way of Miblish, a horse who dictated matters from the front. This year’s renewal could fall to a similar tactic and a precise pace analysis may well prove imperative to finding the winner.
On official ratings, the highest rated runner in the field is TRUMPET MAJOR (7/4 Coral) who has been allotted a mark of 110. Twice a winner of Group 2 contests, this Richard Hannon runner will encounter both the polytrack and 1m2f for the first time in his career. A career which has seen this horse to best effect when fresh – in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons Trumpet Major claimed victory on his seasonal reappearance, winning at Newmarket and then Sandown. Another notable point about those victories is that during each run he was raced close to the pace, in a position where he was able to move clear of the leader in the closing stages. The doubt with this horse is the fact that he is untried on this surface and could well be vulnerable to more speedier types. That said, his pedigree (out of a filly won won the German Oaks) certainly favours a step-up in trip and if the race turns into a tactical affair he may well have enough ability to control the race from the front.
One horse who does have form on the surface and over the distance is Modernstone (4/1 Coral). Last seen finishing second to Grandeur in the Winter Derby Trial at Lingfield, this horse ran on well to only be denied by less than a length. This horse has only had two visits to Kempton, races which resulted in comfortable defeats. It may be too early to argue that she is unsuited by the left-handed nature of the track but certainly she has shown her best at Lingfield. With the benefit of her fillies’ allowance and her vast experience on the surface, she could contest the victory – provided she is ridden a little more predominantly and is stoked up earlier on.
The lightly raced Contributor (4/1 Ladbrokes) heads the race card with George Baker taking the ride for the first time on this horse. Trained by Ed Dunlop, this horse finished four lengths behind last season Breeders Cup Turf winner – Magician at Chester prior to ending the season finishing fourth in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes. Its difficult to quantify what this horse has achieved so far as his only victories have come in a Class 5 maiden and a Class 3 conditions event. After his latest victory at Newbury, connections where talking about running this horse in the Dante but instead choose to step him up in trip resulting in two losses. Again, another horse who seems to show his best when coming off a strong pace he could well be unsuited by the characteristics of this particular race.
Next on the race card is Energia Davos (6/1 BetVictor) who represents the in-form trainer Marco Botti. Campaigned so far this season in Meydan handicaps, this horse has finished in behind good quality horses, the likes of Tha’ir, Sanshaawes and Cat O’Mountain. His current mark of 102 looks to be realistic reflection of his ability and it would be difficult to imagine that after three runs this season, a return to the UK (only run here once before, finishing fourth of nine at Lingfield) will bring about any improvement. He seems fully exposed and should be vulnerable to other runners.
A course and instance winner on his latest start (and first of the season) for new trainer Martyn Meade, Squire Osbaldeston (9/1 bet365) won a Class 4 handicap off a mark of 84 with relative ease. The runner-up was receiving 12lbs and the pair moved well clear of the rest of the field. This horse has a very impressive pedigree and it could well be that the horse has yet to fulfil his potential. The track and distance seemed to suit and he was able to quicken off a genuine pace to move clear at the line. On ratings he has plenty to find with the principles but, his experience at the track and his race fitness could well bolster his chances of success.
The final runner is the mare – Tinshu (25/1 Coral). Campaigned predominantly on the all-weather this horse has run at Kempton on six occasions but has only managed to claim victory on one of those occasions. Held on form by Modernstone in the Winter Derby Trial it would be a huge surprise if this horse could find the requisite improvement at the age of 8 to turn that form around, let alone beat some of the higher rated runners in the field.
In what looks to be a tricky Listed contest, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious pacesetter. For me, this contest revolves around two horses – Trumpet Major and Squire Osbaldeston. The former is clearly seen to best effect when fresh and could well find himself controlling matters from out in front. The latter performed well over C&D on his last start and could well continue to improve for that outing and the switch to a new stable. Between the two I would favour TRUMPET MAJOR. The highest rated on official and RPR rating, this horse could well claim another victory on his first start of the season before another infuriating campaign. His trainer is in scintillating form (38% in the last 14 days) and the horse should improve for this step up in trip and step down in class.
TRUMPET MAJOR (WIN) (7/4 Coral)
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