Kempton Preview: Rhapando ready to rock
Rhapando can bounce from a disappointing effort last time out to land the 2m 5f handicap chase at Kempton today (4.20) now eased in grade.
Trained by Paul Webber, the gelding shaped with plenty of promise when placed in two decent bumpers, and looked a work in progress last season when running well in three starts over hurdles.
The six-year-old looked the type who would do better as a chaser, and he opened his account over the larger obstacles at the second time of asking when staying on strongly to beat Cloud Creeper by a neck at Leicester in a class 4 handicap off a mark of 112.
This pair pulled 11 lengths clear of the field, and the form of the race has worked out extremely well.
The runner-up has won twice since and is now rated 142, the third and fourth home have also gone on to score twice, and the fifth home Foxbridge has notched three subsequent successes.
It makes Rhapadno’s current mark of 119 look more than exploitable, and although bitterly disappointing last time out at Newbury when pulled-up that was a class 3 contest and the drop back to class 4 company is sure to suit.
Rhapando has also been given a 91 days break to freshen up, and with Tom O’Brien in the saddle this looks a great opening for the son of Hernando to get back to winning ways.
In the 2m 5f handicap hurdle earlier on the card (3.50), Lewis can take advantage of what looks a handy mark to open his account over the obstacles.
Trained by Tom Symonds, the gelding shaped with plenty of promise to make the frame in his first three starts this season, most notably on the last occasion when chasing home Private Malone over 2m 6f at Wincanton.
The six-year-old kept on well to be beaten 4 1/2 lengths without ever threatening to get to the winner, and the form of the race has worked out well.
The fourth home Wizards Bridge, who was beaten 8 1/4 lengths by Rhapnado, has come out and won off a rating of 118 and the fifth home Cash Injection has also scored since.
That is strong form in the context of this contest, and suggests that Lewis should be up to winning races off a rating of 115.
Lewis will also appreciate the drop back in trip having had his stamina stretched when fifth of 12 over 3m 1f at Wetherby last time out, and everything looks in place for a big run.
2.45: Herbert Park
3.15: Artifice Sivola
3.50: Lewis (NB)
4.20: Rhapando (NAP)
4.55: Kuda Huraa
5.25: Raya Hope