Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls sends runners to both Kempton and Chepstow on Wednesday including Tingle Creek winner Politologue...
"Politologue is in great heart, has improved this season and, at six, age is on his side though I do respect last year’s winner Special Tiara who will be eleven in a few day’s time."
- Paul Nicholls on Politologue
*Please Note: The Welsh Grand National meeting at Chepstow has now been abandoned due to a waterlogged course
12:45 Kempton - Kings Inn
Is one of a group of around a dozen promising juvenile hurdlers we have for this season. He is a big, strong type we bought from Ireland where he finished a staying on second in his only start for John Murphy in a mile maiden on soft going at Killarney.
His schooling at home has been good though I would prefer drier ground for his debut over hurdles than he is likely to get at Kempton and however he runs here I would expect him to improve for the experience.
13:20 Kempton - Cyrname
Used to be far too headstrong for his own good but is much better this season and made an impressive winning debut over fences at Huntingdon with the help of a fine ride by Sean Bowen.
We were hopeful he would follow up at Newbury but though he was far from disgraced in finishing second to Bigmartre he repeatedly gave away ground away by jumping to the right at his fences.
Sean came back saying we must keep Cyrname to right handed tracks so he should be fine at Kempton and he has the potential to be decent over fences at distances in excess of two miles.
The softer the ground the better he will enjoy it.
13:20 Kempton - Tommy Silver
I gave Sam Twiston-Davies the choice between this pair and can see why he picked Tommy Silver as he has a slightly higher BHA rating than Cyrname.
Tommy Silver won his first chase nicely at Leicester then was just outpointed by Testify at Bangor-on-Dee. We were disappointed at the time but the form looks a lot better after Testify hacked up in a classy novice chase at Haydock on Saturday.
While the track and trip will suit Tommy Silver he does prefer better ground and wouldn't want any more rain at Kempton.
14:30 Kempton - Politologue
Justified our faith in him with a tremendous victory in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown early this month when he jumped brilliantly before out running Fox Norton from the last fence.
I briefly planned to take Politologue next to Ascot for the Clarence House Chase in January but changed my mind because the Desert Orchid Chase fits neatly into his schedule which is all geared to the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Politologue is in great heart, has improved this season and, at six, age is on his side though I do respect last year's winner Special Tiara who will be 11 in a few day's time.
I am very hopeful that Politologue can win this before he has a little break ahead of his next race, the Betfair Exchange Chase (formerly the Game Spirit) at Newbury, which will be his prep for Cheltenham.
14:50 Chepstow - Silsol
Loves soft or heavy going, has won plenty of races and I've felt for a long time that this annual marathon in the mud might suit Silsol who came back into training this summer after missing 12 months with a tendon injury.
He badly needed his first run over hurdles at Haydock a month ago and has come on a lot for it as I hoped and expected.
He is a horse who stays forever and with his in-form jockey Bryony Frost claiming a useful 5lbs it wouldn't surprise me to see Silsol outrun his odds.
14:50 Chepstow - Vicente
While it is not ideal for him to be carrying top weight in such a competitive handicap this year's Welsh National looks more like a limited handicap with the bottom weight only 10st 9lbs.
Vicente ran tidily in this a year ago when finishing sixth, he stays well having won the Scottish Grant National twice and he seemed to cope with the soft ground last time when a respectable second to Perfect Candidate at Cheltenham.
But we know he is a better horse in the spring on drier ground and if they get the forecast heavy rain overnight on top of the current heavy ground there's no getting away from the fact that he could be at a disadvantage by race time.
What Vicente doesn't do is jump quite so well on really soft ground so I can't be too confident about his chance.
15:20 Chepstow - Bill And Barn
Put two ordinary runs behind him by dead-heating with the odds-on favourite Rhaegar in a novice hurdle over almost three miles on deep ground at this track 18 days ago.
I had the option of running Bill and Barn in a £20,000 Handicap Hurdle a little earlier on this card but chose this novice handicap chase instead where he takes on only four others.
He's progressive, was always going to be a chaser, jumps fences like a natural at home and won two point-to-points on soft ground in 2015-2016.
With no concerns about the likely testing conditions I'd say he has solid claims in this.
15:40 Kempton - Darling Maltaix
Is another of mine who wants to do everything at a million miles an hour and is taking time to learn that he has to settle if he is to win races.
He was better last time at Taunton where Harry Cobden got him half switched off at the back before he pulled his way into the lead after the fifth. Darling Maltaix was then headed between the last two flights but was still in with a shout until he knuckled over on landing at the final hurdle.
I'm pleased to be giving a chance on him to our talented amateur Lorcan Williams who has very good hands and rides him every day at home.
Lorcan claims a handy 7lbs and if he can manage to get plenty of cover at the back on Darling Maltaix in this handicap and persuade him to relax he could make play a part in the closing stages.