Kempton betting tips: Verdana Blue and Casablanca Mix bets for Henderson this Sunday

Horsebetting.com’s Kempton betting tips for October 21 give punters three wagers to consider for the seven-race card this Sunday. Verdana Blue looks weighted to win the feature 2m Matchbook VIP Hurdle, so rates our NAP of the meeting. In the other Listed race, a novice hurdle over the same trip, Grand Sancy is fancied to follow-up for Paul Nicholls. Verdana Blue’s Nicky Henderson trained stablemate Casablanca Mix, meanwhile, is each-way value off top weight in the 2m 2f handicap chase. Read all about this meeting in this preview of the card and Kempton betting tips for October 21.

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Odds
11/10
NAP
Verdana Blue
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Odds
13/8
NB
Grand Sancy
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Odds
9/4
E/W
Casablanca Mix
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Verdana Blue weighted to give Henderson VIP treatment in Matchbook Hurdle

Two of the UK’s leading National Hunt trainers look to have outstanding claims of doubles on the seven-race card at Kempton on Sunday. In the Listed 2m feature contest, the Matchbook VIP Hurdle (16:10), Verdana Blue is well-in on her main rivals at the weights and readily taken to make a winning return to action for Nicky Henderson.

The six-year-old has won five of her 16 starts under rules, including two of her first three outings for the Seven Barrows handler before being pitched into Grade 2 company for the Dawn Run at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival. Verdana Blue was headed at the last and fourth to Let’s Dance, but only beaten 3 1/4 lengths and half-a-length behind the runner-up.

She then placed again around Prestbury Park when tackling 2m 4f for the first time and third now eased to Listed level behind Brillare Momento. The form has a solid look to it as Dusky Legend finished in front of Verdana Blue on both occasions.

These runs left the impression that there were races to be won with her last season, and that proved to be the case when she landed a 2m Ascot handicap on her second start of the campaign. Nico De Boinville did really well to stay in the saddle as Verdana Blue got really badly hampered at the first.

She then made steady progress from three out and was produced to lead over the last with a superb jump. Verdana Blue was soon shaken up and drew clear to score by three lengths and, in the circumstances, it was a performance that was worth upgrading.

Connections went back up to Grade 3 level with her in hot handicaps either side of the New Year. In the first of those, over the same course and distance at Ascot, Verdana Blue was a solid staying on 4 1/2 lengths third to Hunter’s Call, but then found soft ground against her when 10th in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

Although then an out of sorts 11th in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr, the ultra-competitive nature of the handicaps she raced in last season had clearly taken their toll. While Verdana Blue usually needs her reappearance run, it’s looks significant that she won a spin on the all-weather over 1m 5f at Chelmsford last month.

That suggests Henderson has got her fit for a decent crack at this; so, in receipt of 13lb from Old Guard, who is officially top-rated, she is 3lb well-in on last year’s race winner. That one doesn’t have the benefit of a prep run, so Verdana Blue thus rates our NAP among these Kempton betting tips for October 21 for her in-form trainer and jockey.

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Grand Sancy fancied to follow-up

A wind operation looks to have unlocked more from Grand Sancy, who broke his maiden tag just seven days ago in a Chepstow four-year-old handicap. Now he’s quickly turned out in the Listed novice hurdle earlier on the card (15:05) by trainer Paul Nicholls, he is fancied to follow-up and brings smart back form to the table too.

Although fourth on debut at Market Rasen, there was lots to like about his second bumper outing when keeping on well and chasing Acey Milan home at Wincanton. The winner is one of Anthony Honeyball’s horses to follow this season after subsequently landing back-to-back Listed contests in impressive style before being best of the British runners and fourth in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.

Grand Sancy was then second on his hurdles bow at Wincanton and runner-up at Taunton before being thrown into Grade 2 company. Given he hadn’t won a race, finishing a 17 1/2 lengths to course specialist Redicean at this venue in the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle in February was a solid effort.

He was only beaten half-a-length out of the frame and something was clearly amiss with Grand Sancy on his final start of last season when pulled up in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival. A wind op looks to have done the trick as he found what it takes to win last weekend when making steady progress from the fifth to lead at the last and kept on well for a 1 1/4 lengths success.

As Harry Cobden again takes the ride and, with the prospect of more to come, Grand Sancy makes more appeal than in-form Philip Hobbs trained six-year-old Leapaway. His main market rival may have won his last five, but is racing for the eighth time this season already, so is readily taken on with Nicholls’ runner.

Casablanca in the Mix and each-way value

De Boinville and Henderson may be coming into the Matchbook VIP Hurdle off the back of a win in the previous race, a 2m 2f handicap chase (15:40) in which Casablanca Mix looks solid each-way value to defy top weight. This six-year-old daughter of Shirocco demonstrated progressive form over fences in four starts last season.

She joined Seven Barrows from crack French trainer Emmanuel Clayeux and was behind aforementioned stablemate Verdana Blue on debut in that Listed 2m 4f mares’ hurdle at Cheltenham in April 2017. Her new connections quickly plotted a novice chase campaign for Casablanca Mix last season and she was third on her bow over the larger obstacles at Worcester.

That form looks solid because Dusky Legend, the runner-up in that Cheltenham hurdle, filled the same spot ahead of her over fences. Casablanca Mix then chased home Willoughby Court at Huntingdon and was only beaten 1 1/4 lengths by the game 2017 Neptune Novices’ Hurdle hero.

This run meant her time was near and that proved to be the case next time up when back against her own sex at the same venue. Casablanca Mix absolutely bolted up and went readily clear in-between the last two to score by 12 lengths from Theatre Territory.

The runner-up is a useful mare rated 132 over fences who ran a string of solid races throughout her novice chase campaign last term, including when second to Ms Parfois and Mister Whitaker at Cheltenham and third in consecutive Grade 3s at Kempton and over the Grand National fences around Aintree.

Casablanca Mix then dropped back in trip and was absolutely cruising when seven lengths clear but coming to grief at the last at Exeter. She clearly would’ve won had she stayed on her feet but, if proving no worse for that tumble, looks sure to give a good account of herself on return to action here.

With Casablanca Mix looking a solid bet, it may be worthwhile backing both her and fellow Henderson mare Verdana Blue in a double. Our Kempton betting tips for October 21 also recommend doing likewise with Nicholls pair Grand Sancy and Quel Destin, who is also quickly turned out in the juvenile hurdle (14:00) that gets proceedings underway following a run at Chepstow.

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