Present Times has been gifted a great opportunity by the handicapper, Seymour Biz believes.
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This Saturday we have the Lanzarote Hurdle, one of the class races in January. Previous winners include Saphir Du Rheu, Tea for Two,Yala Enki, and Modus so we are certainly looking for a winner capable of going on to better things. There is also a decent handicap chase on the card, which is on ITV4. Nice to see one of the smaller tracks, Warwick, getting it’s place in the sun. A lovely, friendly course, great to see it on television and also some decent sponsorship enabling it to offer some good prize money hence attracting some top-class horses. I shall look at a couple of their races, both courses are currently declared as soft, so once again it looks like the lower weighted horses will have a significant advantage. One that should not be missed is Barney Dwan in the 1.50 at Warwick, but he will be short-priced.
We shall start at Kempton Park with the 2.40, the 32Red Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle. I can see no further here than Diese Des Bieffes, Nicky Henderson’s horse, he was beaten over two miles here at Kempton on Boxing Day by If The Cap Fits, but looks to be a horse crying out for further. He had previously won going away at Taunton and looks a class horse in the making. Like other winners in this race I can see him going on to bigger and better things. Higher in the betting is a horse called Jaleo who ran third in the last race at Kempton on Boxing Day, he came from off the pace that day and if he is kept up with the pace here could well be placed at a nice price.
At 3.15 is the 32Red.com Handicap Chase, where Fountains Windfall is hot favourite. However his jumping seems to let him down at the crucial moment, he fell here at Kempton on Boxing Day when he had the race at his mercy in the Kauto Star Novice Chase. He had previously fallen at Newbury and I just wonder if those falls have affected him mentally, so I will look for one to stay on his feet and beat him. I think Pilgrims Bay is the answer, a course and distance winner here last February, he was beaten just under three lengths here by Tintern Theatre at the end of last month, but is due to carry 6lb less in this handicap. Ballyalton looks another with a chance, but this is all providing the favourites jumping lets him down again. I will however stick with Pilgrims Bay.
Over at Warwick the 2.25 is a Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Qualifier and I like the bottom weight, Evan Williams’s Present Times. Last seen out at Chepstow at the beginning of December he was second to Lovenormoney when going for a four-timer, he made a mistake three out when making his challenge and that was it for him. He had 10st 12lb that day and as due to carry 11lb less in this handicap. Evan Williams has the top and bottom in the wights in this race. The top one being Prime Venture who was last out at Ffos Las in mid November where he won going away, but I do think the weight may hamper him. Early Retirement for Caroline Bailey has the making of a nice horse but I don’t think he stayed last time. I’ll stick with Present Times.
Finally, the 3.35 Betfred Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick has some very good 3 mile plus chasers. I particularly like Cresswell Breeze, his last run at Sandown, when he ran third, was at the beginning of December, I think he will strip fitter for the lay-off after being run out of it after the last. Dan Skelton has Sir Mangam in this, who won at Bangor-on-Dee in November, and was due to run in the Welsh National until it was rescheduled is a threat as is Krackatoa King, who has a low weight. At a bigger price is Carole’s Destrier who has had a muscle problem and ran down the field last time at Newbury, but if fit could run into a place.
Saturday Lucky Fifteen
2.40 Kempton. Diese Des Bieffes
3.15 Kempton. Pilgrims Bay
2.25 Warwick. Present Times
3.35 Warwick. Cresswell Breeze
Contact Seymour Biz, with your own thoughts, tips and questions, at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org