Warrantor Looking Forward To Lanzarote Hol
Saturday’s big handicap at Kempton, the Lanzarote Hurdle (2.40pm), has been won by on two occasions by Paul Nicholls, down the years, and with him scooping most of the big races this season, punters may be keen to support him once more.
Indeed, Nicholls won last Saturday’s big handicap at Sandown with Unioniste, who carried a big weight to victory, and Nicholls enters another near the head of the weights in Lac Fontana (14/1), winner of a Grade 1 novice at Aintree last spring (2m4f, good to soft). Although out of the places in two outings this term, the 6yo could appreciate the drop in class in a race that favours his age group…
Of the last 10 Lanzarote renewals (including a dead-heat)…
11 were 5-8yo’s – 6yo’s proved best at 7-51 (14%)
10 had 5 or fewer handicap hurdle runs
9 carried 10st4lb to 11st2lb
9 made the top two during their last three runs
P Nicholls and N Williams won it twice each
Nick Williams has also bagged this race twice, and enters an interesting contender in Tea For Two, who heads the market at 6/1. A record of 2-3 in novices this season, including on Boxing Day and over this C&D in October, he is improving and has been allocated a nice weight of 10st5lb.
Also amongst the main fancies from a lowly weight of 10st is Philip Hobbs’ 6yo, Hello George (7/1), who arrives having been a creditable sixth (beaten 8l) in the Ladbroke at Ascot before Christmas (2m, good to soft). That effort suggests the handicapper may have his measure, however, while he is also unproven over this half-a-mile longer trip.
One who is proven beyond 2m1f is Warren Greatrex’s 6yo, Warrantor (8/1), an improving 6yo that took the step up to 2m3f in his stride at Market Rasen last month (soft).
His trainer stated further he would suit following that 6l victory, and he would be shorter price if from one of the power yards.
Nicky Henderson will be keen to get back amongst the big-race winners in 2015, and has a chance with the 5yo, Dawalan (8/1), runner-up in a valuable Listed handicap at Ascot in November (2m, good). A winner since in a decent handicap at Aintree last month (2m4f, good to soft), he is another punters will need to consider if he makes the starting line-up.
Henderson also enters Hammersly Lake on 9/1, while top-weight, Kilcooley, is a similar price having won last time out.
Both will need to improve on Saturday if winning, though better value could be Venetia Williams’, Dubawi Island (16/1). While this 6yo was beaten 14l on his return in November, Dubawi Island did rattle-up a hat-trick last season and may have been put aside by his yard who traditionally hold a strong record from the turn of the year.
Neil King’s, Saffron Wells (16/1), also deserves a mention having been third in a valuable 2m4f handicap last March, and his third over Christmas shows he remains in fine form.
There can be no ignoring the fine record of 6yo’s in this race, and of that age-group in Saturday’s renewal, Warrantor is the one who could be well-handicapped judged on his 6l victory last time.