February 26th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

In some ways the most interesting runner on Saturday is David Pipe’s Kings Palace, who goes in the Pertemps Qualifier at Chepstow. Better known as a chaser these days, he was strongly fancied for the Paddy Power Gold Cup and started favourite but weakened quickly after running well to the top of the hill.

He has not been seen in public since then and one would have to assume this Chepstow outing is merely to freshen him up for Cheltenham, where the 2m 5f handicap chase will surely be the target. Still, there would not be any harm in getting him qualified for the Pertemps Final and the best move may be to have a little each-way on him with a view to splashing out a bit more in three weeks’ time.

The Eider Chase at Newcastle will be hard work though maybe not quite as gruelling as in recent years. Milborough just outpointed SUMMERY JUSTICE 12 months ago but Venetia Williams is in a rich vein of form, especially on Saturdays, and the veteran may be able to take his revenge and make the frame at an attractive price. It looks very tricky, however, with many dangers including Philip Hobbs’ WOODFORD COUNTY, who did well in fifth in bad ground in the Coral Welsh National and has good win and place claims.

The main point I’d make about the valuable Betbright Chase at Kempton is that Champagne West, still going well when a bad mistake at Cheltenham stopped him in his tracks, and Tenor Nivernais are probably better at short of three miles. Hadrian’s Approach has the key weight of 10st 6lb in the Grand National and is worth watching but Harry Cobden’s 7lb claim on VIRAK looks a sensible move and Paul Nicholls is very clever when it comes to using the youngster’s allowance to the best advantage. Stable-companion RUBEN COTTER may also be thereabouts.

Looking for a bit of value in an extremely difficult Winter Derby at Lingfield it occurred to me that ENERGIA DAVOS quickens up well off a strong pace, has had the right sort of rest and will be well ridden by master tactician George Baker. Like most of Saturday’s minor investments, however, he looks each-way material on a typically difficult afternoon with the big meetings only just around the corner.