Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle Preview – Saturday 13th January
Last updated: January 11, 2018 by Leon Marshal
The big betting race at Kempton Park on Saturday is the 32Red Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs.
The Lanzarote is one of the most valuable staying handicap hurdles of the season. Nick Williams and Paul Nicholls have dominated the race in the last nine years with three winners apiece. Williams was successful with James De Vassy (2011), Swincombe Flame (2012) and Tea For Two (2015). Nicholls won the race for the third time when Modus and Barry Geraghty won last season. His previous victories came with Nycteos (2008) and Saphir Du Rheu (2014).
River Frost the early favourite at Kempton
Bookmakers have chalked up River Frost as the early market leader for Alan King and Barry Geraghty. He was a close fifth to Court Minstrel at Chepstow in October. River Frost was then withdrawn from his intended engagement at Market Rasen with a vet’s certificate. He won over two miles at the corresponding meeting last year and over course and distance in February.
Paul Nicholls is represented by Topofthegame, a six-year-old son of Flemensfirth. He has always looked more likely to shine as a chaser but fell at Newbury in November. Nicholls has entered him for the RSA Chase in March.
Diese Des Bieffes was beaten five lengths here by If The Cap Fits on Boxing Day in a novices’ hurdle. He had won his previous two races in good style at Fontwell and Taunton and now makes his handicap debut. Diese Des Bieffes is trained by Nicky Henderson who may also run William Henry. He is another horse reverting to the smaller obstacles after failing to complete on his debut over fences at Cheltenham.
Bags Groove bids to repeat course victory
Harry Fry has booked Noel Fehily to ride Bags Groove, a course and distance winner in November. He beat The Last Samuri on good ground, following up his previous victory at Aintree in October. Bags Groove is up 5lbs on Saturday and would probably prefer slightly better ground.
Red Indian is a six-year-old gelding by Sulamani trained by Ben Pauling. He is very lightly raced, a winner at Ffos Las in soft ground. He stayed on into third behind Coole Cody at Cheltenham in November.
French import La Patriote is set to make his debut for Dr Richard Newland. The stable have a good record in big handicap hurdles and the bookmakers are not taking any chances with this one. Bridget Andrews rides Spiritofthegames for Dan Skelton, a six-year-old gelding by Darsi. He won a novices’ hurdle at Taunton before scoring on his handicap debut at Lingfield. He has been raised 5lbs but that is reduced by the 3lbs claim of Andrews.
Top Ville Ben up 12lbs in Lanzarote
Coeur Blimey won by eight lengths at Wincanton last month before being well beaten at Ascot. He did not jump with any fluency that day and that could be a concern in this big field. Top Ville Ben was a wide margin winner at Haydock on his most recent outing. The going was extremely testing that day and he drew right away from his toiling rivals. He has gone up 12lbs and the ground is unlikely to ride heavy at Kempton.
Wishfull Dreaming makes his debut for the Olly Murphy yard after leaving the Philip Hobbs stable. He was a decent novice in 2015 but has lost his way. A change of scenery often brings about some improvement and he could be one to note for the future.
Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle Betting Tips
Diese Des Bieffes @6-1 Ladbrokes
River Frost @6-1
Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3,4
The Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle is due off at 2.40 at Kempton Park on Saturday and will be televised live on ITV4.