Betfred Classic Handicap Chase Preview – Saturday 14th January
Last updated: January 13, 2017 by Leon Marshal
The feature race at Warwick on Saturday is the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase over three miles and five furlongs.
The race was established in 2004 and regularly attracts Grand National contenders. Moorcroft Boy won the race in 1994 and went on to finish third at Aintree, winning the Scottish National later in his career. Paul Nicholls has won the race three times, most recently with Hawkes Point in 2015. Alan King won with D’Argent (2008) and West End Rocker (2011) while Kerry Lee trained Russe Blanc to win the race last year, beating King’s Midnight Prayer.
Shotgun Paddy chasing second win in Warwick feature
Sego Success started favourite twelve months’ ago but got no further than the second fence. He is racing off a 6lbs lower mark on Saturday and ran a promising third to Valadom at Bangor-on-Dee on his seasonal debut. He was beaten favourite at Doncaster next time but is yet to prove that he stays this marathon trip.
Bookmakers are struggling to establish a clear favourite here with nine horses separated by just two points. These include Houblon Des Obeaux who finished a remote fourth last year behind Russe Blanc. He is set to race off a 6lbs higher mark after finishing a creditable third in the Welsh National and it would be a remarkable effort to defy 11st 12lbs. No horse has carried more than 11st 7lbs to victory in this race, Shotgun Paddy being one of three horses to do so when successful in 2014.
Emma Lavelle’s ten-year-old has not managed to win since but has run well in defeat, notably when third in this race in 2015 and third in the Welsh National last year. He was not disgraced when seventh to Viconte Du Noyer at Cheltenham in November and looks to have been freshened up for his return to Warwick.
Doctor Harper fancied after Cheltenham run
David Pipe’s Doctor Harper will be on plenty of short lists after failing narrowly to win at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day. He was beaten only a short-head by Tour Des Champs over an extended three and a quarter miles. He had finished ninth on his previous start at Cheltenham but he returned minus two shoes that day.
Fergal O’Brien’s Viva Steve won at Ayr in November when making all the running to beat Ballyben by two and three-quarter lengths. He is up 7lbs in the weights and was well beaten on his only other start beyond three miles.
Russe Blanc failed to complete in his next three starts after winning this race last year. The white gelding was fitted with blinkers at Haydock last month and finished sixth behind Yala Enki in soft ground. Stable companion Mountainous is a two-time winner of the Welsh National. He was pulled up in his bid for a remarkable third win at Chepstow last month.
One For Arthur carries Scottish hopes
Scottish raider One For Arthur is prominent in the betting lists for Lucinda Russell. He was beaten only three lengths when fifth to Vieux Lion Rouge in the Becher Chase at Aintree last month. He was doing all of his best work at the finish and that followed a comfortable six lengths win at Kelso in October.
Kaki De La Pree won at Worcester on good to soft ground in June and chased home Ballyboker Breeze at Bangor-on-Dee in December. Nigel Twiston-Davies relies on Ballycross, still a novice and yet to win in four starts over fences. This looks a tall order for such an inexperienced chaser.
Betfred Classic Handicap Chase Betting Tips
Doctor Harper @10-1 Ladbrokes
Shotgun Paddy @12-1 BetVictor
One For Arthur @12-1 Ladbrokes
Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3,4
The Betfred Classic Handicap Chase is due off at 3.35 at Warwick on Saturday and will be televised live on ITV4.