Progressive Joke Dancer Can Win Again for Smith at Kelso

Joke Dancer was an intended runner in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival just a couple of weeks dago, but was pulled out on the day of the race. He now heads to Kelso for a competitive looking handicap hurdle, where he looks to gain compensation for missing the Cheltenham race, as well as showing us why he was fancied to run well in that far better race at the festival.

I had a feeling myself that Joke Dancer would run well at the festival, and certainly outrun his odds of 25/1 that day. He is nowhere near that price for this race, but if the form of his previous win was good enough to give him an each way shout in the Coral Cup at the festival, then it is certainly good enough for him to go close in this handicap at Kelso.

I was impressed with two things about his recent Newcastle win. The first is the manner of his win, he did it impressively and travelled like a really good horse, something he will need to do again here. That was his first run for nearly a year, and he has had wind surgery in that time too. With just nine starts under his belt, there is every chance that there is even more to come from this horse, which would put him well ahead of the handicapper.

The second reason I liked his Newcastle win was because of the horse in behind him in second. That was Albert’s Back, a horse who is a non runner in this Kelso race, which makes things a lot easier. He is a horse I really like from last season, and has been off injured up until now. He ran very nicely at Newcastle coming back from an absence. I like him a lot and think he is well handicapped, which obviously raises my interest in Joke Dancer even further if he was good enough to beat him.

This is a competitive race, and plenty will think they have a chance of going close. However, I really like Joke Dancer, and if he improves again here for the run which he should do, that will make him very difficult to beat.