Racing: Port Melon worth a punt

Jockey Victor Espinoza celebrates his win in the Breeders' Cup Classic on American Pharoah. Picture: AP

Jockey Victor Espinoza celebrates his win in the Breeders' Cup Classic on American Pharoah. Picture: AP

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Port Melon can make a dream start over fences when he rocks up at Kempton.

Paul Nicholls has long admired this attractive-looking seven-year-old, who was certainly no slouch over hurdles.

But having earned a rating of 132, his future was always going to be over fences.

Port Melon now gets the chance to prove his worth in his new vocation when he runs in the Weatherbys Vat Services Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase. Nicholls is of the view that three miles on decent ground will suit his inmate very nicely indeed, so conditions should be fine for him at the Sunbury circuit.

He will not have everything his own way at Kempton as he is up against some in-form, race-fit rivals – but he could be a different class.

Stablemate Silviniaco Conti certainly falls into that category in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.

The often-underrated nine-year-old is one of the best around over fences so it is interesting to see the dual King George winner revert to hurdling for the first time since 2011.

Nicholls’ chestnut won two Grade Two novice hurdles way back when so he is a perfectly smooth operator in that department.

Even in spite of top weight and a long break, Silviniaco Conti should be too good.

Furrows was a little unfortunate last time and can set the record straight in the Aiua/Bluefin Agricultural Insurance Specialists Handicap Chase at Ludlow.

Oliver Sherwood’s ten-year-old, an easy winner at Southwell in June, looked set to give Easily Pleased a real run for his money at Newton Abbot in August but he fell two fences from home.

Having seemingly recovered from those exertions, he must go close off the same mark and over a similar trip.

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