Paul Nicholls SurroundedSam Turner landed a nice winner with Emmas Joy yesterday and has a very busy day planned for Saturday.

Black Corton/Double Shuffle (Kempton, 3.35)

Paul Nicholls is certainly intent on winning today’s Betway Handicap Chase and the redoubtable BLACK CORTON is fancied to emerge best of the Ditcheat quartet.

Racing prominently can often be a major advantage on the chase track at Kempton and in Black Corton, Nicholls has a horse which adores the Sunbury venue and is himself an extremely potent force once rested for more than 50 days. The selection has only been beaten by Top Notch and Altior in four trips to today’s venue (track figures read 1212), while his statistics when rested for more than seven weeks read an admirable 11111213.

He has also built up a fabulous association with Bryony Frost who was on board when he ran well in a competitive Ascot handicap before Christmas, a performance which came just a fortnight after chasing home Native River at Aintree. The desperate ground at Ascot would not have played to Black Corton’s strengths and, although the Kempton terrain may still be a little softer than ideal, it rarely becomes as deep there.

Get 6/1 @ bet365


Last year’s gallant runner-up DOUBLE SHUFFLE is another for the shortlist as his whole campaign appears to have been geared around today’s contest and I could see him also making a bold bid from the front.

Two spins around Ascot before Christmas have served to get the 10-year-old dropped 6lb by the assessor and, with conditions likely to suit once more, he is also worth a modest wager.

Get 11/1 @ Ladbrokes


Royal Birth (Lingfield, 2.05)

ROYAL BIRTH won this event three years ago and looks a fair each-way play to upset likely favourite Good Effort who may be a little vulnerable dropping down to the minimum trip at this venue.

The selection was narrowly behind Good Effort at Newcastle when they met in January, but only a neck separated them that day and Royal Birth could be worth chancing to spring a mini surprise.

Royal Birth has never been ridden over the minimum trip by Richard Kingscote and the only time they paired up over five furlongs, it was only Tropics which proved too strong.

Get 4/1 @ Paddy Power


Fortified Bay/Calipso Collonges (Newcastle, 2.45)

FORTIFIED BAY represents connections which have enjoyed a couple of winners this week and their progressive chaser could be worth supporting on his return to a track which clearly suited him well last month.

The first-time cheekpieces appeared to be the catalyst to a strong-staying performance and he is shortlisted along with Welsh National-fourth Prime Venture and CALIPSO COLLONGES.

The latter chased home Haydock specialist Lord Du Mesnil last time and looks to have been saved for this by Olly Murphy who has withdrawn him from a number of other engagements in the past six weeks. He is narrowly preferred to the top weight as a second bet as he could be fresher than his rival.



Black Corton 1/2 pt ew (3.35 Kempton) 6/1 bet365

Double Shuffle 1/2 pt ew (3.35 Kempton) 11/1 Ladbrokes

Royal Birth 1pt ew (Lingfield, 2.05) 4/1 Paddy Power



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