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Chess Player – 8.00 Kempton – 2m Mile Handicap – 20/1 Bet365/BetfairSB/BetVictor – 1.5 Points Each Way.
I always enjoy a 2-mile handicap flat race as it brings stamina into the equation and for dual purposes horses can be major players. This is very much the case with Chess Player, who started life in a National Hunt flat race over 2 miles postmarking 107, before embarking over hurdles. So far Chess Player hasn’t excelled over hurdles running to a high of 105 in 7 starts.
He doesn’t appear to like soft ground as connections kept him to the goodish going, and rather than run on deep winter ground twice ran in National Hunt flat races in Feb 2021 on the all-weather. Both these were good runs where he stayed on strongly over 2m and 2m 2F to postmark 112. The second run was especially noteworthy, finishing a 4 length second to Hydroplane, who postmarked 82 on the flat just 2 weeks earlier (giving him 5lb) and beating Global Agreement into 3rd by half a length (giving 12lb) who is rated 60 on the flat. – we will come back to these numbers in a bit!!
So after two more hurdle races connections sent Chess Player to run in three flat maidens, all over inadequate trips of 1m 2F and 1m 4F. Unsurprisingly he stayed on from the rear but never troubled the leaders. These runs served a purpose as he postmarked 58 twice and was allocated an opening flat handicap mark of 59.
Chess Player ran well enough on his flat handicap debut over 1m 4F and was again outpaced, only to stay on for 4th. This was also on unfavourable soft ground, and he still postmarked 58.
Today Chess Player steps up to a much more suitable 2 miles. Considering he postmarked 58 twice over 1m 2F and 1m 4F he is bound to improve and should be enough to give him every chance of victory. I think his proven 2 miles NH flat form behind Hydroplane over today’s course and distance makes him look exceptionally well handicapped. If you convert that run to flat ratings, then Chess Player ran to a mark between 70 and 75.
When you compare that to today’s rating of 58 (and he will only have to run to 64-67 to win this), then you realise connections have managed to get Chess Player so well handicapped that he has plenty of scope to win two or three handicaps this winter.
I am convinced he will be running on strongly at the end of the race and coming out of a nice low draw he should get a nice track position throughout.
This looks a strong selection, so we have to get involved and I’m recommending 1.5 Points each way at 20/1 with Bet365/Betfair Sportsbook/BetVictor. I feel he is still value at 8/1.