Recommended Bets Value Bet, January 13
It’s an excellent renewal of the 32Red Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton (2.40) on Saturday with plenty of quality and potential on show.
I must admit, I didn’t think I’d be in any rush to take on the likes of River Frost, William Henry and Diese Des Bieffes as that trio in particular have very strong claims, but their presence at the top of the market has pushed out some of the mid-tier chances to some tantalising odds.
Spiritofthegames was on the radar at 14s as he ran well at the track on Boxing Day in 2016 and has improved since, winning twice from just two subsequent starts including at Lingfield at the end of November.
The form of that race is nothing special, but he’s unexposed and looks to have been saved for a crack at the Lanzarote and the same can be said for Bags Groove, a horse that hasn’t been sighted since he beat The Last Samuri here in the middle of November.
I Shot The Sheriff was also on the shortlist after an eye-catching first run for Fergal O’Brien last time. He travelled really well at Newbury, trading as low as 2.66 in-running on Betfair, but was pulled up after losing a shoe and standing on it.
At 20/1 he could be worth another chance but I was drawn to two at even bigger odds, starting with DENTLEY DE MEE at 33/1 (Coral) for Nick Williams.
Williams has an exceptional record in this race, winning it three times in the last seven years, but his best chance this year (he also has Man From Mars at 40/1) looks to have been underestimated probably because of an 11lb rise in the weights since his last run at Ludlow.
However, I felt that raise was fully justified and the form is working out as if it was.
The winner by a head, Galactic Power, a horse that was receiving 24lb from Dentley De Mee, was second of 15 off 8lb higher at Huntingdon on Boxing Day, while he was placed in an amateur riders’ race, giving an amateur her first ride, off 12lb higher back at Ludlow the other day.
Meanwhile, the third, Bright Tomorrow, a horse beaten 10 lengths by Dentley De Mee getting 6lb, came out and ran a close second in a handicap at Wetherby on Boxing Day, pulling 17 lengths clear of the third.
It looks solid form and Dentley De Mee looks well worth chancing in a higher grade from a low weight. He hurdled really nicely when stepped up in trip at Ludlow and rallied once challenged by the winner.
He looks to have plenty more to offer yet, is hugely unexposed at the distance and looks underestimated at 33/1 for a trainer that targets his best horses at this contest.
At similar odds (28/1 General) DINO VELVET is worth chancing for Alan King and Wayne Hutchinson.
He had some strong form to his name as a juvenile and returned in a good race at Chepstow that has worked out okay thanks to the exploits of the first two home, Silver Streak and Dolos.
Dino Velvet came out of that race and stepped up in trip at Newbury, where he was sent off 14/1 but traded at 4/1 in-running after travelling up smoothly with a quarter-of-a-mile to go.
He couldn’t go through with his effort in the end, but it gave plenty of hope that he can improve his form at this sort of trip and I think a proper gallop could help him travel into things nicely on Saturday as they went a bit of a dawdle last time.
I’m also intrigued to see him going right-handed again, as he’s only been clockwise twice before, winning by eight lengths at Sandown and finishing second at Ludlow.
I like Hutchinson on this type of horse and if he gets the breaks and times his challenge well, I’m sure Dino Velvet can outrun his big odds.
Finally, it’s the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick and this is going to be hard work over 3m5f in what looks like being tacky ground.
This will be all about which horse gets into the best rhythm and that’s tough to predict, but at the odds I thought previous winner RUSSE BLANC was a big price at 20/1 (General).
Kerry Lee’s horses are in terrific form and she has three chances in this race, but while Krackatoa King and Goodtoknow looked about right in the market I just can’t have Russe Blanc as the outsider of the field.
He jumped beautifully on the first circuit at Cheltenham last time, but lost his confidence after fiddling over the water jump and the mistakes crept in after that.
He’ll have to cut those out if he’s to win this again, but a couple of factors could help him do so.
Firstly, Charlie Poste returns to ride the horse for the first time in 10 starts, and, while Russe Blanc is 0/14 for other jockeys, he’s 5/21 for Poste. Secondly the handicapper has given him a chance, dropping him to a mark of 125, his lowest for over two years and 2lb lower than when victorious in the 2016 renewal of this race.
We know he likes the track, the test and the ground. Getting weight from everything, the white horse could well become the first dual winner of the race if he manages to cut out the mistakes under his favourite pilot.
Posted at 1700 GMT on 12/01/18.
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