1.40 Kempton – KEATING (nb)
The selection, trained by Philip Hobbs, is a son of King’s Theatre who fell on his sole outing in point-to-points, and he proved too keen on his Rules/stable debut in a 2m 3½f maiden hurdle at Chepstow last October, in rear and a brief forward move before four out soon petering out as he came home in 11th behind Elegant Escape. He offered a good deal more on his next start in a 2m novices’ hurdle at Sandown some six weeks later, waited with in midfield and travelling well for much of the way, shaken up and unable to go with the front two after the second last but keeping on nicely on the flat to take third behind Dashing Oscar (beaten 13½ lengths). It is clear his prospective handicap mark was uppermost in connections’ minds when he contested a 2m 1f maiden hurdle at Exeter on New Year’s Day, dropped right out and racing in last place for a good portion of the race, coming under nothing more than a hand ride as he came home in eighth behind Air Horse One (beaten 36 lengths). He has been allocated a mark of 112 and appeals as the type to do a lot better in handicap company, while better ground and the application of a hood should also aid his cause; no surprise to see this gelding prove much more competitive now.
3.45 Kempton – ONE OF US (nap)
The selection, trained by Nick Williams, is a well-bred son of Presenting who was highly tried on both outings in bumpers last term, finishing fourth on debut in a 14f Listed event at Cheltenham last January and filling the same position behind Ballyandy in a similar event at Newbury (2m) the following month. He appeared to find 2m around Stratford too sharp on his hurdling debut back in October (jumped deliberately at times), but he shaped a little better when filling the same position behind Kimberlite Candy in a 2m 3½f maiden hurdle at Ascot the following month, prominent/leading from the outset but his inexperience still evident as he was left behind after the second last flight (beaten 28 lengths). This gelding still looked rough around the edges last time (still not fluent at his hurdles), but he is a good-looking sort with a pedigree to match, his dam a 3m Listed hurdle winner at this track and herself a half sister to last year’s Grand National winner Rule The World; moving into handicap company from an opening mark of 109, it wouldn’t at all surprise to see everything click for this well-related son of Presenting here.