Friday, January 11, 2008

Warwick and Kempton

Fourteen go to post for the Classic Chase at Warwick tomorrow. The preview in the Weekender highlights the fact that since 1991, when Aquilifer carried eleven stones seven pounds, no horse has won this carrying more than eleven one. Of the lighter weighted runners, the two that stand out are Arnold Layne and High Chimes. Course and distance winner Arnold Layne has been in good form, likes to race from the front and has Tony McCoy on board. Evan Williams' High Chimes finished a good third behind Cloudy Lane in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock three weeks ago. I'd expect the horse to see the trip out on his first attempt over this marathon distance. Earlier in the week the one I really fancied was Kilbeggan Blade after his impressive victory at Sandown but he's allocated top weight here. I still expect a bold show and will consider an each way wager if the bookmakers are offering 10/1 or bigger. My feeling is that High Chimes' third behind Cloudy Lane reads better than Arnold Layne's form and his price offers better value, so High Chimes gets the vote.

There are only six runners in the Leamington Novices' Hurdle but it looks fascinating. Peter Bowen's Souffleur is the clear form choice but there may be a question as to where the pace in this race will come from. On official handicap ratings Hills Of Aran has the beating of Nenuphar Collonges. I shall keep an eye on Just A Thought, stepping up in trip here, who ran well on soft ground in some decent bumpers last year - will he try to nick it from the front?

In the opener at Kempton Zanir would have a chance of overturning likely favourite Red Flare while in the Lanzarote at 3.15 Panjo Bere looks unexposed and Rio de Janeiro is weighted to get closer to Nycteos. I give Paul Nicholls' Nycteos the vote.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Well, so much for the statistics... The first four home all carried eleven stone four or more, with only six finishing on the extremely testing ground. High Chimes (5/1) looked threatening momentarily but flattered to deceive and was pulled up before the seventeenth. Kilbeggan Blade's jumping was disappointing, going to his right on occasions; he was struggling a long way out and was pulled up. The race will be remembered as much for McCoy's crashing fall from Arnold Layne (3/1 favourite) as D'Argent's 18/1 victory. This evening McCoy is described as 'stable' in Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry.
Beforehand the Leamington Novices' Hurdle looked like a race which could suit a front runner; those duties were undertaken with relish by 8/1 chance Carruthers (rather than Just A Thought); he slipped his field down the back straight and won unchallenged, Mattie Batchelor doing the steering.
Both Kempton selections won, Zanir at a generous looking 3/1 in the opener while Nycteos (backed in to 7/4 favouritism) took the Lanzarote from 33/1 shot Kawagino.