Punting pointers for a typically competitive running of the Lanzarote Hurdle
Unibet Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle (Listed) | 2m5f | 4yo+ | ITV4/RTV
When it comes to the Lanzarote Hurdle, it is worth keeping an eye on the top-end of the market as no horse sent off at bigger than 9-1 has managed to win it in the last decade.
With that in mind, and the fact that seven of the last nine winners have carried 11st 4lb or less, look out for the lightly raced sorts with the scope to progress further.
The likes of Grade 1-winning chasers Saphir Du Rheu and Tea For Two, winners of the race in 2014 and 2015, have shown that this race can be a stepping stone on to a higher grade.
Kloud Gate, backed into 7-2 favouritism from 8-1 earlier in the week, looks to fit the bill and bids to give trainer Gary Moore a fourth win in the Listed contest.
A useful performer on the Flat, the gelding is two-from-two over hurdles this season and has the assistance of Jamie Moore in the saddle.
Moore said: "He's gone up a fair way in the handicap. He's got a nice racing weight but Saturday will tell us whether he's up to the standard or not. He's won two very bad races.
"He was a good Flat horse, but was jarred up in the Cesarewitch and needed a break. He's just an all-round good horse, he's a delight to train."
Maltaix bids to follow in Modus footsteps
Paul Nicholls, who last won the 2m5f contest with the smart Modus in 2017, saddles Darling Maltaix, an emphatic winner of a conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle at Ascot last time out and is once again partnered by Lorcan Williams.
Assistant trainer Harry Derham said: "Lorcan has done a fantastic job with him. He rides him out every day and I'd say he was a huge part of the horse’s success at Ascot.
"He’s got plenty of weight and, while I don’t think this is the strongest ever Lanzarote, it’s very competitive."
Second win in a row?
Nicky Henderson, victorious in the race last year with William Henry, saddles the Sullivan Bloodstock-owned Doux Pretender, last seen finishing fifth in the 3m Bristol Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Henderson said: "I thought three miles round Cheltenham was just a bit too far for him but he ran well for a long way. I think two and a half on good ground is perfect and I’m hoping for a good run."
What they say
Johnny Farrelly, trainer of And The New
We felt like he was making a noise at Fontwell on his last start so we decided to give him a wind operation. The form of that race is now starting to work out quite well with the winner [Lisp] going on to run a couple of really big races since. He's a small horse and good ground will suit.
Philip Hobbs, trainer of Cotswold Way
We were going to give him a winter break but, with the ground as it is, we decided to keep going and I'm pleased we have. He's well suited by good ground. He's been progressive but this is obviously a big step up in grade.
Tom Messenger, assistant to Dan Skelton, trainer of Theatrebar and Solomon Grey
It's Theatrebar's first run back after a bit of a break and he's on – or close to – a career-high mark. He was in good form over the summer and William Marshall is claiming 10lb, but it will be quite hard work for him as a 11-year-old. The 10lb should hopefully make a difference. Solomon Grey looked progressive last year, winning a couple of times, but disappointed last time out. He'll like the ground so hopefully he has a solid each-way chance.
Neil Mulholland, trainer of Sleep Easy
He's been consistent this season and has ran well at the track previously. Hopefully he'll run well again.
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