Kempton is the last big trials day before Cheltenham and it’s normally the Adonis and Dovecote Hurdles that punters associate with potential Festival winners.
There are some promising horses in both of those races on Saturday, but in the past four years the winner of the 2m4½f handicap chase (4.45pm) has gone on to land the opening day novices’ handicap chase at the Festival.
That is unlikely to happen again, as there aren’t many novices in the entries, and the one who interests me is a 10-year-old.
ERICHT has been around for donkey's years – he was sent off favourite for the Champion Bumper in 2011.
Nicky Henderson’s chaser has been pretty disappointing over fences, but a flat track, decent ground and this sort of trip is perfect for him.
He’s now rated 12lb lower than when third to Johns Spirit at the start of last season and I’m willing to give him one last chance.
Up at Newcastle, WOODFORD COUNTY is worth supporting at 14/1 with Betway in the Eider Chase (2.50pm).
The nine-year-old finished third in this race 12 months ago and comes into this year’s renewal a stronger and more experienced horse.
Not only did he answer stamina doubts to make the frame last year, he went on to finish third in the Midlands National and fifth in last month’s Welsh National.
Ideally he would like it a touch softer, but February ground in the North East is always going to have plenty of give and it shouldn’t pose a problem.
Russe Blanc is respected if taking his chance, although he’s another who would prefer softer ground and has gone up in the weights after his Warwick win.
Woodford County e/w, 2.50pm, Newcastle
Ericht e/w, 4.45pm, Kempton