Sunsprite can rise the to the challenge of the 32Red Conditions Stakes at Kempton.
All the runners in this six-furlong affair have a chunk of improvement to find against Charming Kid, but following that one’s lacklustre return last month, it could pay to take a punt on one of the others.
Step forward Sunsprite, who won three of his five starts for Richard Hughes last term and rounded off his campaign by placing in a Listed heat at Ripon in August. The winner that day, Sporting Chance, went on to win a French Group Three, while a couple in behind also posted notable performances subsequently, including Barbill who landed a big sales race.
Sunsprite did not run again and ended the year on 99, which puts him at a 4lb disadvantage with Charming Kid, but his rate of progression suggests he could well be up to this task.
Reeth rounded off 2018 with a win and can start the new year in similar vein in the 32Red Casino Handicap.
It took him six attempts to get off the mark, but he made every post a winning one over the same mile he faces here, coming home nearly three lengths clear.
The handicapper has hiked him 7lb in the weights for that, but Reeth seems to have some untapped potential.
Al Reeh is the pick in the 100% Profit Boost At 32redsport.com Handicap after his second place at the track in November.
He scuppered a bit of a gamble as he was beaten a length and a half, but he has dropped down the weights in recent times and still sits on a competitive mark now.
War And Glory makes the switch from novice company in the Ladbrokes, Home Of The Odds Boost Handicap at Wolverhampton and has to be one to watch.
He has shown glimpses of ability in three starts to date and might find handicap level more to his liking.
Ok Corral can take the next step on the road to Cheltenham in the starsports.bet Novices’ Chase at Lingfield.
Nicky Henderson’s runner finished a creditable second in the Albert Barlett at last year’s Festival before going on to be fifth at Aintree, giving him a perch of 147 to get cracking over fences.
He duly kicked off with a win at Plumpton, holding the more experienced Impulsive Star at bay by two and a quarter lengths, and this looks another good opportunity before making a leap in class.
The Gipper can bring up his hat-trick in the starsports.bet Handicap Hurdle.
A winner at Lingfield at the beginning of December, he defied a 7lb penalty to follow up just seven days later at Ffos Las.
Up 12lb from that second win, he was eased down to win and could surmount this new rise.
Chinensis is an eyecatching newcomer in the starsports.bet Novices’ Hurdle.
An £82,000 recruit at Goffs last May, the six-year-old has three point-to-point victories to his credit already and looks a fine prospect for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
He will obviously come into his own over fences, but this looks an excellent starting point.
Bastien had his first chase start in a hot contest, but should find Wetherby’s Join Racing TV Now Chase an easier task.
He had plenty to find on the ratings at Huntingdon and so it proved as he finished a distant fourth behind Bags Groove.
That is not form to be sniffed at, though, as the winner was notching his third chase success and Bastien looked like he would derive plenty of benefit from the outing.
KEMPTON: 2.10 Legal Mind, 2.45 Al Reeh, 3.15 Reeth, 3.50 Merlin, 4.20 SUNSPRITE (NAP), 4.50 Demophon, 5.20 Tigerfish.
LINGFIELD: 12.30 Alph, 1.00 Chinensis (treble), 1.30 Sutter’s Mill, 2.00 The Gipper, 2.35 Ok Corral (next best), 3.05 Drewmain Legend, 3.40 Bonds Conquest.
WETHERBY: 12.45 Doctor Jazz, 1.15 Bonza Girl, 1.45 Bastien, 2.20 Sharp Reply, 2.55 Houndscourt, 3.30 Mr Woody.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 4.05 Ever Rock, 4.35 Ice Canyon, 5.10 Going Native, 5.45 Skydiving, 6.15 Viola Park, 6.45 War And Glory, 7.15 Stay Forever, 7.45 Proceed.