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2019 32Red Casino Chase tips - Henderson's 13/8 chance to prove Top Notch in Kempton feature

Brian Healy 11 Jan 2019
Top Notch can live up to his name in Saturday's chase feature at Kempton.

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look at the big race field for Saturday's Listed 32Red Casino Chase at Kempton.

The 32Red Casino Chase is just one of several classy contests going to post on Kempton’s Saturday racecard, and despite the small turnout which sees just five runners go to post it promises to be a cracking renewal of this Listed prize.

Boasting a first-prize pot in excess of £20,000, the race was won twelve months ago by Waiting Patiently, while other past winners include the likes of Balder Success and Captain Chris.

This extended 2m4f contest goes to post at 2.05pm, and the race features on ITV Racing’s Saturday coverage.

Heading the field of five runners is Kim Bailey’s Charbel (13/8, Bet365) who has been resurgent over fences this term, scoring at Chepstow and Huntingdon this season in the Peterborough Chase.

The Iffraaj gelding seemed to take a while to get over his fall in the 2017 Arkle Chase won by Altior, where he was still tanking when coming to grief two fences from home, and he suffered a disappointing defeat on his reappearance at Perth last September when beaten by Hammersly Lake.

A subsequent defeat of Baron Alco was followed by a narrow defeat behind Politologue at Ascot, and he ran out an impressive winner over God’s Own latest to confirm his return.

He could prove dangerous to peg back around this track if allowed his own way up front, but with Speredek in opposition there is a decent chance he’ll be taken on for the lead; while the ground here may just prove a shade lively.

Kim Bailey's Charbel has recaptured his best form.

Hammersly Lake (25/1, Coral) meanwhile hasn’t matched the form of his defeat of Charbel in two subsequent runs, finishing behind Kim Bailey’s charge in subsequent outings at Ascot and Huntingdon.

Charlie Longsdon’s Kapgarde gelding is smart at his best, but his win at Perth was probably down to having the advantage of race-fitness over his classy rival, and his limitations have since been exposed.

He faces a very tough ask here to gain revenge on Charbel, and he might struggle in this company; while Speredek (11/1, Bet365) is likely to try and make all the running, although Nigel Hawke’s charge also faces a tough assignment.

The Kapgarde gelding hasn’t won since scoring at Sandown back in January last year, beating Gino Trail, after which he was gunned down by Un De Sceaux at Ascot in the Clarence House Chase, finishing in the runner-up berth.

Disappointing subsequent efforts at Ascot and Punchestown prompted wind surgery, and he has acquitted himself well in both starts this season when chasing home Caid Du Lin at Ascot prior to finishing fourth behind Altior here in the Desert Orchid Chase where he faced an impossible task.

This is easier than facing Altior, but his best form has been at two miles however, and stepping up in trip he could struggle to get home in a truly-run race.

Speredek could try to blaze a trail in Saturday's chase feature at Kempton.

TOP NOTCH (13/8, Ladbrokes) developed into a top-class chaser last term, winning three times which included Grade Two successes at Ascot and Taunton, the latter being the rescheduled Peterborough Chase.

No match for Waiting Patiently at Ascot in the Ascot Chase, finishing fourth in ground possibly just softer than ideal, he quickly bounced back with a success at Sandown when beating Art Mauresque in the Oaksey Chase, and he ran a stormer on his reappearance back over hurdles in the recent Long Walk Hurdle where he finished third behind Paisley Park.

Nicky Henderson returns the Poliglote gelding back over fences for this outing, and while there is a slight concern over the trip on this sharper track perhaps proving an inadequate test he arguably sets the standard on his chase form to date.

Better ground here is ideal, and with this likely to be run at a decent pace it could help mitigate any possible reservations that the trip may prove on the sharp side.

Completing the line-up, Black Corton (13/2, William Hill) was another hugely progressive performer last term, racking up a sequence of wins, which included the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at this venue.

Paul Nicholls’ charge was possibly just feeling the exertions of a long spell of racing when running a shade flat in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, and he was put away for the season following another disappointing run at Aintree behind Terrefort.

Runner-up to Definitely Red on his reappearance at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall Chase, he was pulled up by Bryony Frost in an attritional Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury when last seen, and a bounce-back is called for.

This better ground will hold no fears, but dropping back in trip perhaps isn’t an ideal scenario and he could just find this trip too sharp. If back to his best however then he’ll be a danger to all, but he might prefer a stiffer test than he’ll get here.

Can Black Corton cope with the drop back in trip in Saturday's 32Red Casino Chase.


A cracking contest in prospect and TOP NOTCH (13/8, Ladbrokes) can live up to his name and resume winning ways back over fences.

Nicky Henderson’s Poliglote gelding developed into a top-class chaser last term, winning both the Christy 1965 Chase and the Peterborough Chase prior to finding Waiting Patiently too strong in the Ascot Chase, eventually finishing fourth in that Grade One contest.

He wasn’t down for long however, and he bounced back to winning form with a defeat of Art Mauresque at Sandown in April too claim the Oaksey Chase, and he ran a screamer back from a break when tackling the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot where he finished third behind Paisley Park.

He has shown through his career that he often needs his first run, but he should strip much fitter now for his return to action and he can get back on the scoresheet returning to the larger obstacles.

While he faces some classy rivals the good ground here is likely to suit him better than either Charbel or Black Corton - who drops in trip - and likely to appreciate going back over fences he rates the one to beat.


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2019 32Red Casino Chase tips - Henderson's 13/8 chance to prove Top Notch in Kempton feature

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look at the big race field for Saturday's Listed 32Red Casino Chase at Kempton.

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