One is the magic number
Ian Ogg analyses the nine runnings of the 32Red Lanzarote Hurdle and the last 10 renewals of the Betfred Classic Chase and picks out the key statistics.
Jonjo O'Neill saddles interesting candidates in Doesyourdogbite and Spookydooky
The 32Red Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle has consistently thrown up some smart performers with the last three winners being Yala Enki, Tea For Two and Saphir Du Rheu.
Six-year-olds have dominated the race but the year younger DOESYOURDOGBITE heads the ante-post betting after taking his unbeaten record to three on his handicap debut at Kempton over Christmas.
His generation may only have been responsible for one runner but were responsible for only two runners last year (3rd and PU), none in 2015 and two in 2014 (the winner and 9/2 favourite who fell at the last) so his claims should not be discounted on age alone.
Local Show and Little Boy Boru do look up against it but fellow 'veterans' Lord Of The Island, Fountains Windfall and Chesterfield have very few miles on the clock for differing reasons.
Only two winners of this handicap have had more than eight previous runs over hurdles so finding a lightly raced runner is key and most fit the bill bar Old Guard who keeps the weights down for stablemate Modus.
The six-year-old has run some big races in top handicaps already this season but while this step up in trip may well suit this race, more often than not, falls to a runner that races more prominently than this habitual hold-up performer.
That could also be a negative for Jaleo who was ridden to get the two mile three furlong trip when making a winning debut for Ben Pauling at Lingfield although he could revert to more prominent tactics now that he has, to some extent, proved his stamina.
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Kalondra was a ready winner over this distance at Ascot on his 10th start over hurdles, producing a career best when coming from a long way off the pace.
Fountains Windfall is among the outsiders and lesser fancied runners have struggled to make an impression but he doesn't look too badly handicapped on 130 on the form of his penultimate run in February where he had Black Corton (rated 135) 13 lengths behind with another 16 lengths back to Valhalla (134) with Bennys King another 11 lengths or so further back.
That was Venetia Williams' runner's debut and the six-year-old has obviously shown improved form and merits respect having improved for the step up in trip when beating a stablemate of Fountains Windfall in a decent race at Uttoxeter.
Lord Of The Island's form has been working out well while Templeross beat a subsequent winner on his penultimate start but may not benefit from the drop back to three miles.
Chesterfield could improve for both his comeback and the step up from two miles for a yard that has gone close with runners in a couple of big handicaps this season but preference is for Doesyourdogbite with Jonjo O'Neill's runner taken to complete the same double as Nycteos in 2008 and to become the fourth winner to win this race after scoring on Boxing Day.
- Winners have been aged five, six (6), seven and eight
- Winners have carried between 9-12 and 11-7.
- Winners have been rated between 123 and 145 with eight 130+.
- Winners have been priced between 20/1 and 7/4 with all bar one returned in single figures. Three favourites and one joint-favourite have won.
- Five winners finished first or second on their preceding start which, for all bar one, came in December.
- Only one of the last seven winners had had more than eight career starts under Rules and that runner, Yala Enki, had only three starts in Britain after arriving from France.
This is a very open renewal of the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick, a race in which weight and rating statistics do little to narrow down the field.
Hey Big Spender defied top-weight in 2012 but Vivaldi Collonges was well held when last of the five finishers off 10lbs lower behind Russe Blanc (7lbs higher) 12 months ago.
The second, Midnight Prayer (1lb higher), and fourth, Houblon des Obeaux (6lbs higher), are also back for more and the conditions are likely to be equally testing with significant rain falling at the course on Thursday with the possibility of more on the way and proven stamina is a must while a good recent run is desirable.
The likes of former winners Rigadin de Beauchene and Shotgun Paddy plus leading fancy Viva Steve have all been off the track than longer for the majority of recent scorers.
Sego Success (6lbs lower) got no further than the second when sent off the 7/1 favourite last year and is now tried in blinkers (no headgear the last twice, formerly wore cheekpieces) in a bid to recapture his smart novice form.
There is also a new aid for ONE FOR ARTHUR who ran a fine race to finish fifth in the Becher Chase but now runs in a tongue strap nonetheless. If that brings about further improvement then Lucinda Russell's eight-year-old should go close in a contest that should suit and he gets the nod.
Spookydooky hasn't fired so far this season but Jonjo O'Neill's runner finished a decent fourth in the Midlands National in March and lines up in this contest from an 11lb lower mark. Conditions so far this season may well have been faster than ideal for this mud lover and he's dangerously well handicapped if the more testing ground helps to bring about a return to form.
- Winners have been aged seven (2), eight (2), nine (3), 10 (2) & 11.
- Winners have been weighted between 10-3 and 11-12; six of the last eight have carried 10-11+.
- Winners have been rated between 122 and 156 with seven between 122 and 136.
- Winners have been priced between 9/2 and 20/1 with one favourite successful and a further three placed.
- Six winners finished in the first three on their preceding start.
- Nine winners had their preceding start no earlier than the 11th December with four running over Christmas.
- Nine winners had raced no more than three times in the current season.
- All of the winners had won or been placed over three miles or beyond.
- Alan King (2) and Paul Nicholls (3) have trained five of the winners.
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