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First of all I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. It’s a really difficult time for the whole country at the moment, but let’s hope things improve as quickly as possible with the rollout of the vaccine.

It’s great to see professional sport carrying on and hopefully that gives people some pleasure and enjoyment while being at home. Racing was at the forefront when sport came back last year and we’ve been able to continue in a safe and responsible way because of the measures the BHA have put in place. They should be congratulated for that.

Things have been quiet for me this week due to the weather so I’ve been at home for three days, looking after the horses and helping out with the home schooling.

It’s looking touch and go for some of the meetings on Saturday but I have four rides at Kempton and hopefully that will get the green light.

Kempton, Saturday

SLIPWAY – 12.35pm

It’s nice to pick up a ride for Ben Pauling and although I haven’t ridden this horse before he ran a decent race at Aintree on his first start over hurdles. That said, this looks quite a hot novice hurdle and he’d certainly have to improve again to trouble the leading fancies.

SMARTY WILD – 1.10pm

Two and a half miles on a right-handed track like Kempton should be ideal for Smarty Wild. He ran a good race at Ascot last time where he jumped really well. He’s still a novice over fences and is very unexposed. We think he’s still improving and even though it’s an open race he should go there with a strong each-way chance.

COO STAR SIVOLA – 1.45pm

He’s a previous Cheltenham Festival winner and if he can bounce back to form he’d have a real chance. He unseated last time in the Becher Chase so you can excuse that and he’s down to a very workable mark now. This is an ultra-competitive handicap but he is another with each-way claims.

EVERGLOW – 3.30pm

He’s a horse that we liked a lot in his bumpers last year and regular readers will know that I put him in my Tote Ten to Follow. Philip [Hobbs] started him off in the Persian War which was a big ask but that shows what we think of him. He was then second to Star Gate back at Chepstow which now looks very strong form.

He won well at Ascot last time, despite idling in the closing stages, and we think he’s an improving horse who is on a decent mark. The lack of experience is a slight worry but a truly run race over this distance will suit him and you’d expect plenty of pace in a Lanzarote.

I won on The White Mouse earlier in the season and she’s improving. Hunters Call is a very decent horse as well and conditions will suit him, but we’re very happy with Everglow and hopefully he can run a big race.

Welsh Grand National

Hopefully Chepstow will get the go ahead as the Welsh Grand National is always one of the biggest races of the season. If I was to pick one, it would be Bobo Mac who stays really well and will love the conditions. Tom Symonds’ horses have been in fantastic form and he has a very light weight.

The favourite Secret Reprieve is very well treated but he does have to prove he stays the trip. The distance won’t be a problem for Christmas In April and everyone will be pleased if he wins for the Tizzards as the race is being run in Colin’s daughter Kim’s memory.


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