D-Day for Derwentwater punters

First published in Sport

DERWENTWATER is proving an expensive horse to follow but he can reward those who keep the faith in the Book Tickets For Racing Plus Chase Day Handicap at Kempton.

John Gosden’s son of former stable star Raven’s Pass struggled to make a significant impact as a juvenile in 2012, but has upped his game since the turn of the year.

He went close when fitted with blinkers for the first time at Lingfield on January 2, going down by just half a length, and he ran creditably again when filling the runnerup spot behind a better handicapped horse in Sweet Force at the same track a week later.

The gelding looked set to finally get off the mark on his first attempt at a mile last week, but was agonisingly beaten a head to ensure his search for an elusive victory would continue.

He is clearly one of Gosden’s lesser lights, but there does not appear to be too much wrong with his attitude and he is on a handicap mark off which he is capable of winning.

He will find few better opportunities than this to get the job done.

Northern raider Clock Opera is the most likely winner of the BetVictor Cheltenham Festival Antepost Pioneers Median Auction Maiden Stakes.

Elaine Burke’s filly was set a couple of stiff tasks on first two outings, but was not disgraced in maidens at Ascot and Ripon, suggesting it was just a matter of time before she would get her head in front.

She turned in another sound effort on her return from a seven-month break at Wolverhampton last month, when finishing third, and it was perhaps a little disappointing she was turned over at odds-on at Dunstall Park at the start of January.

However, this does not look a particularly strong race and she is worth siding with one more time.

There was much to like about Naru’s maiden victory at Wolverhampton a fortnight ago and he may have been let in lightly as he returns to the track for his handicap debut.

James Tate’s Authorized colt was green in both the preliminaries and during the race itself when he made his racecourse bow at Newcastle back in August of last year, but the experience was clearly not lost on him.

He appeared to know far more about what was required when he returned from a break to win over the course and distance last time and although he only got up late in the day, there was an air of authority about his triumph.

He looks the sort to do well now in this sort of company and an initial mark of 70 seems very reasonable ahead of the coral.co.uk Mobile Betting Handicap.

The Horse Racing Free Bets At bookmakers.co.uk Fillies’ Handicap brings the Wolverhampton card to a close and Gosden could again be on the mark, this time with Hepworth.

The four-year-old was a highly encouraging second on her sole juvenile appearance at Doncaster, but was then sidelined for over a year.

She has not quite rediscovered the same level of form since returning, but has run well enough when filling the runner-up spot in a couple of mile and a half maidens to suggest she is up to winning a handicap such as this.

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