Simon Holt: Calling Shotgun
Shotgun Paddy is Simon Holt's tip for the Classic Chase at Warwick but who is the top commentator with in the Lanzarote?
Shotgun Paddy can reward each-way support at Warwick
Your intrepid correspondent is in search of each-way value in the two big handicaps this Saturday and FOUNTAINS WINDFALL, who showed much promise in novice company last season, is taken to overcome the lack of a recent run off a good mark in the 32Red Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton.
An easy winner when long odds-on at Fontwell in May, Anthony Honeyball's gelding had previously split Gala Ball and Black Corton in a decent event at Wincanton where he travelled eye-catchingly well and kept on strongly all the way to the line.
Stoutly-bred, Fountains Windfall should appreciate this step up in trip and, considering that Gala Ball is now rated 143 and Black Corton 135, his rating here of 130 looks attractive while it is also worth noting that he won first time out as a bumper horse.
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The danger could be Kalondra who was dropped right out at the back of the field by Sean Corby in a modestly-run race at Ascot last month yet cut through the pack smoothly before keeping on well for a length victory.
An 8lb rise in the weights for that win looks harsh enough, though there is no question this is an improving horse and champion jockey Richard Johnson now takes over in the saddle.
Also progressive is Doesyourdogbite, up 6lb for winning over the course-and-distance at Christmas when stamina looked to be his strong suit (he was struggling at one point in the back straight) while the Flat-bred Jaleo did well to win from an unpromising position turning for home at Lingfield last time and, again, will benefit from Alex Ferguson's 7lb allowance.
At Warwick, SHOTGUN PADDY looks well enough handicapped to go close in a bid to repeat his 2014 victory in the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick.
Emma Lavelle's stayer beat Carruthers off a mark of 145 on that occasion and then finished third to Hawkes Point here 12 months later, so this test clearly suits him well.
Despite his stable being a bit out of form last season, the ten-year-old ran creditably to finish third behind Mountainous in the Welsh National under a big weight before chasing home the 'thrown-in' Rocking Blues in the Eider at Newcastle.
Shotgun Paddy again ran well for a long way before finishing seventh at Cheltenham on his reappearance in November and can now run off his lowest handicap rating for three years. Moreover, Lavelle's horses are in much better shape this season.
Russe Blanc and Midnight Prayer fought out the finish to this race 12 months ago but neither has really fired since, though the fitting of blinkers on the former produced a better effort at Haydock last time.
2013 winner Rigadin De Beauchene was still close up when hampered and brought down by a loose horse in last year's race and showed signs of retaining ability when fourth at Haydock first time out.
Venetia Williams, his trainer, is triple-handed with Houblon Des Obeaux and that slogger-of-sloggers Emperors Choice also in the field. Houblon Des Obeaux was far-from-disgraced when third to Native River in the Welsh National last month (Milansbar, Emperors Choice and Mountainous all pulled up) but is 6lb higher than when a well beaten fourth behind Russe Blanc last year.
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