THERE are plenty of decent handicaps to get stuck into and the Rosebery (3.15pm) at Kempton is normally one of the most competitive.
It didn’t turn out to be 12 months ago, though, when Roger Varian’s Barsanti beat his rivals by a comfortable four lengths off a mark of 85.
The fact that he ended the season on 109 shows how thrown in he was that day and I hope it’s the same with BIG COUNTRY.
This four-year-old son of High Chaparral moved to Mick Appleby from Charles O’Brien in February and immediately got off the mark at Wolverhampton, with a hugely impressive seven length win.
He has been raised 9lbs for that, but the way he won marked him down as a seriously progressive horse and he gets in off bottom weight here.
Silvestre De Sousa has been firing in the winners since returning from Hong Kong and, although stall nine isn’t ideal, it could be much worse.
I can see this horse eventually ending up in something like the Ebor later this season, so the 7/2 with 188BET is worth taking.
Although there are only eight runners in the Listed Magnolia Stakes (2.05pm), it still looks a very open heat.
Godolphin are double-handed with Linguistic and Viren’s Army and the pair are quite hard to split.
Mark Johnston is always to be feared at this stage of the season so you can’t rule out Fire Fighting who ran well at Dundalk last week.
However, I was impressed with ABSOLUTE BLAST in the Winter Derby last month on her first start for Archie Watson.
She was only narrowly beaten by Convey in that Group Three and this looks like an easier task. Take the general 3/1.
Big Country 3.15pm Kempton
Absolute Blast 2.05pm Kempton