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THE Warwick Classic Handicap Chase has been a really good marker for the big staying events later in the season. One For Arthur won this three years ago before landing the Grand National, and LE BREUIL can add his name to the roll call at 3.00.
The National Hunt Chase-winner should be absolutely cherry-ripe for this valuable prize following on from his starter for 10 in the West Yorkshire Hurdle and then a cracking run in the Becher Chase at Aintree.
I fancy he could have every chance of reversing that Liverpool form with Kimberlite Candy (not the most consistent and assured of jumpers) and so put himself firmly in the frame for the big Aintree marathon come April of this year.
Of the other entries in the race, Crosspark is slowly being shown some mercy by the handicapper, while I wouldn’t put any of you off the each-way claims of Darlac if he manages to get into a rhythm with his jumping in the early part of this contest.
It is a cracking card at the Midlands’ track and the Grade Two, novice chase over three miles at 1.50 looks a crackerjack of a renewal.
This looks a real chance for HIGHEST SUN (nb) to make his mark at this level after coming up against the likes of Pym and Champ earlier on in the season. As they say he got the job done in a match race at Plumpton, but a real test at this trip is what he has been crying out for and a clear round may see him account for Two For Gold. Kim Bailey’s charge looks a real stayer in the making and any further drying in the ground would certainly play in his favour.
The Grade Two Leamington Novices’ Hurdle at 2.25 could see WHATSUPWITHYOU out-perform his better-fancied rivals in the betting.
Ben Pauling’s charge has plenty to find with the leading protagonists in the field here, having only won an Ascot maiden event, but the sky is the limit for this former winning point to pointer and he is the least exposed in the field for this cracking renewal.
As far as the handicaps on the card are concerned, TEDHAM looks the call in the Pertemps Qualifier at 3.35 as long as he doesn't get outpaced again at a crucial stage in the contest.
However, I think that this track will play more to his strengths as they do tend to get racing from some way out with the short home stretch ahead of them. One thing is for certain, he will probably need to win this to secure his place in the field at Cheltenham in March, whereas many of those above him in the weights only need to hit the top six to line up for that famous festival final.
Named after one of the greatest stars of the winter game in the last 50 years, the Lanzarote Hurdle doesn’t seem to have the best strength-in-depth field for a while and I would suggest that BURROWS EDGE (nap) could be the worthwhile call here for master trainer Nicky Henderson.
A faller over fences last time out, he remains unexposed over timber and his previous runs at the Sunbury-on-Thames track have been solid to say the least. His owner revealed that the youngster worked well last week and he is well worth an interest at around the 7/1 marker.
Following a hard-earned win in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon last time out, Top Notch bids to defend his title in the Silviniaco Conti Chase due off at 2.05.
But he is going to have to go some to catch the brilliant FRODON who has had excuses on his two starts this season. The Ryanair Chase hero can run the finish out of his esteemed rival with his brilliant jumping and game galloping style of racing.
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