Saturday racing: what's on TV and who to watch out for
You could easily just give up after a week like the one we have just had.
If losing Thistlecrack from the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup was bad enough, there has also been the false flag farce at Chelmsford, Storm Doris wreaking havoc, Leicester City sacking their title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri and Wayne Shaw losing his job in ‘Piegate'.
But instead of being down be like Opening Batsman, because he will have been looking forward to this weekend all season.
How can a horse look forward to something?
Opening Batsman clearly loves this weekend as it is the BetBright Handicap Chase at Kempton (3.35).
The 11-year-old won the race in 2013 and returned to form out of nowhere to be second in the race last year, his only subsequent run in the race. He tries to win the race again this year.
Will he win – and what else is happening at Kempton?
Opening Batsman has not shown much form since but it would be folly to rule him out returning to his best.
Among his rivals are Theatre Guide, who won the race last year off a stone less, while the market is headed by Irish Saint and Double Shuffle. Tom George, trainer of Double Shuffle, won the race twice with Nacarat.
There is plenty of good action besides the BetBright Handicap Chase and Charli Parcs is perhaps the most exciting horse of all running. The unbeaten juvenile runs in the BetBright Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (1.50) and will be heading for either the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle or JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival should he win.
Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner Frodon faces three rivals in the BetBright Pendil Novices' Chase (2.25), and his trainer Paul Nicholls also has a strong contender in the BetBright Dovecote Novices' Hurdle (3.00) in the shape of Capitaine.
Blimey that sounds great. What about elsewhere?
Potential challengers for the Randox Health Grand National are the focus away from Kempton with the marathon Betfred Eider Chase (2.45) taking place at Newcastle, and the At The Races Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse (3.30, ATR).
The Betway Winter Derby (3.15) at Lingfield looks a super race as well with Mutakayyef using the Group 3 as a prep for the Dubai Turf at Meydan on World Cup night.
Best set the Sky+ box to record. There is plenty of racing you will want to watch and rewatch.
Where will the racing be shown?
The Adonis, Pendil, Dovecote and BetBright Handicap Chase from Kempton will be shown on ITV4 (Freeview: 24, Sky: 120, Virgin: 118), as will the Eider Chase from Newcastle and both the Winter Derby and Listed Hever Stakes (2.05) from Lingfield.
The channel will also broadcast The Opening Show at 10am.