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I was expecting Gardefort to be a fair bit shorter than 11/2.
I was cursing at him at Ascot last time as I thought he was going to unexpectedly bounce back to form at 33/1 (traded at 1.62 in the run) and chin my 8/1 punt on Bennys King, but thankfully Gardefort couldn't quite seal the deal and was beaten six lengths into second.
However, that was clearly a very good run against a well-handicapped horse, and the assessor has left him alone for it.
He is clearly thrown in on his mark of 124 if coming back to anywhere near his 2017 best - he was rated 145 after his Grand Annual second - and he also boasts a win and a second from two starts here.
The "bounce" factor, mythical or not - that Ascot run was his first for 588 days - is the worry here, but he is a bet at 6.611/2 for me. The price easily compensates for that doubt in my book, and even a reproduction of his Ascot run may suffice here.
First up on the box is the 2m4f110yd handicap chase at 13:10 and I very much like The Bay Birch and A Toi Phil against the field at big prices, though I do appreciate that the 10/3 favourite Espoir De Romay could prove very troublesome off a mark of 140 given the way his Haydock second has worked out.
There are obvious doubts about the pair - hence their odds - but the handicapper has given The Bay Birch a huge chance here.
Okay, she has been well beaten in recent starts and it is a slight worry that all her best form has come left-handed (though she has won this way), but I thought she has shaped much better than the form book would suggest of late (the cheek-pieces experiment tried again last time has been ditched) and she has come down 10lb since the start of the season.
She will go very close here if reproducing the form of her Newbury fifth in November, a race where she was beaten only seven-and-a-half lengths. It has worked out okay too, with the runner-up beaten just a neck next time, the third was runner-up on his following start and the seventh won. She is 8lb lower here.
The 33/1 each way with the Betfair Sportsbook, four places, was never going to last - it was cut to 20/1 - so I am going to suggest a win-only bet on the Exchange at 23.022/1 and bigger now.
A Toi Phi was rated 159 in his Grade 2-winning pomp for Gordon Elliott but is down to a mark of 140 now on his second start for Gary Moore.
He shaped very well on his stable debut when fourth in the Denman Chase last February and he could prove very dangerous to all here if fully tuned on his first start for 11 months, for all he is getting on as an 11-year-old now.
I am personally going to have a decent saver on him, so I am putting him up here too at 21.020/1 or bigger, win-only on the Exchange. His best form in Ireland came over this 2m4f trip with a bit of dig.
I wouldn't know much about his jockey, but 7lb claimer Niall Houlihan - I trust all of my 50yo+ readers immediately thought "Hot Lips" when clocking the surname - has a decent record this season with eight winners.
It is well known that the 2017 King George runner-up has put up most of his better efforts around Kempton and he clearly ran far better than the bare reading of his 22-length third here last time would immediately suggest.
He probably mixed it far too much on the front end throughout there and paid for it late on (the Betfair layers were alive to this as he never went lower than 6/1 in running) , and in any case the first two home, who were ridden far more patiently, were very well-treated animals.
In the circumstances, I really like the fact that he got dropped a further 2lb for the run, and I expect James Bowen will be playing his hand much later this time around.
Back him at 8/1 each way, first four places, with the Betfair Sportsbook.
The Bay Birch at 23.022/1 or bigger in 13:10 at Kempton
A Toi Phil at 21.020/1 or bigger in 13:10 at Kempton
Double Shuffle at 8/1 each way, first four places, with the Betfair Sportsbook in 13:45 at Kempton
Gardefort at 6.611/2 or bigger in 15:45 at Wincanton