Happy new year to all!
14:40 Kempton William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle (Listed Handicap) (Class 1) 2m 5f
Tea For Two is currently vying for favouritism and it is not hard to see why based on his performance in novices’ hurdles. Won hard held at Towcester on Boxing Day over an inadequate trip and prior to that he overcame significant inexperience to win over course and distance before a decent 3rd in the middle of the 2 wins at Newbury. Looks to have been given a nice handicap mark; that coupled with his excellent rider’s 7lb claim make him an attractive proposition tomorrow. Big chance.
Hello George will be having only his 2nd handicap start tomorrow. Stayed on well over an inadequate 2 miles in the Ladbroke hurdle last time out and the extra yardage should be right up his street tomorrow. He is another that looks well handicapped and is well fancied to run a big race tomorrow.
Warrantor comes here chasing a hatrick of wins and he is certainly capable of doing just that. Won his maiden over hurdles at Chepstow in November and that form is strong. won a novices’ hurdle at Market Rasen with ease last time and makes his handicap debut tomorrow. Very unexposed and holds every chance.
Hammersly Lake is knocking on the door in handicap hurdles and is a consistent type. He has finished 2nd at Cheltenham and Newbury so far this term and he deserves to get his head in front. This is definitely the most competitive handicap he will have run in to date and backing him each-way may be the best option.
Kilcooley finished 6 lengths 2nd to Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favourite L’ami Serge 2 starts ago at Newbury and showed that was no fluke when destroying the field in a handicap hurdle at Haydock last month. He has been hit with an almighty 18lb rise for that victory and he must carry top weight tomorrow. If he can win he must be a very smart horse but he has a lot on his plate to take this.
Dell’ Arca has had a quiet season so far. He has made little impact in 2 novices’ chases and finished last in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last month. This race will be a lot more suitable and he can hopefully carry on his handicap form from last season into this race. He is currently a double figure price and is certainly capable of making an impact.
TEA FOR TWO looks to have a big future and is well handicapped for tomorrow’s contest. He will be an outstanding chaser in time but for now he can be very competitive over hurdles.
Hello George and Warrantor certainly cannot be discounted while Dell’ Arca looks to have been overlooked in the betting and holds strong each-way claims.
15:35 Warwick, Betfred Classic Chase (Grade 3 Handicap) (Class 1) 3m 5f
Return Spring has been favourite for the race all week. He is making his handicap debut here over a new trip but anybody who has watched him race will know this stamina test should be right up his street. Ran really well, staying on behind Kings Palace and Sausalito Sunrise at Cheltenham last time and can go very close here.
Shotgun Paddy made a shuddering error in the early stages of the Welsh Grand National which effectively ended his chance of being competitive. Connections are clearly looking for compensation here as he was well fancied at Chepstow. This is only 2 weeks later and he ought to run well if his jumping holds up. Won this last year.
Carruthers has turned his hand to Cheltenham’s cross country course this season and ran his best race for a while last time. Finished 2nd in this last year and will love conditions. Is not getting any younger however and will have competition for the lead here.
Rigadin De Beauchene is another who will relish this test. Goes well fresh which bodes well for tomorrow’s contest and is no stranger to winning round Warwick. Looks to hold a big chance if Venetia Williams has him ready. Won this 2 years ago.
Benbane Head made all round Cheltenham last time, winning cosily by 9 lengths. He will have competition for the lead here though and often runs on a sounder surface. May struggle tomorrow.
West End Rocker is the oldest horse in the field at 13 but showed he is still capable with a win over 3 miles at Lingfield last time out. Won this 4 years ago and he has each-way claims.
Hawkes Point is definitely capable of winning a similar contest and was well fancied for the Welsh Grand National 2 weeks ago. He ran poorly though and he needs to put that behind him here. Has been dropped a few pounds and his trainer is arguably the best at getting the best out of long distance chasers. He has to be respected at a decent price.
RETURN SPRING is completely unexposed as a staying chaser and is sure to be a permanent fixture in similar races for the foreseeable future. Conditions look ideal tomorrow and a big run is expected.
Rigadin De Beauchene is another who will relish conditions and should put a bold showing if his trainer has him ready, while Hawkes Point should not be ruled out despite a poor run in the Welsh Grand National.