big-race-preview-National-HuntNational Hunt racing fans are in for a treat on Saturday with Unibet Lanzarote Hurdle action at Kempton Park, along with the Grade 3 Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick. We run through all seven contests below with thoughts and predictions, with the first off at 1.50pm...

Warwick

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13:50 The Hampton Novices' Steeple Chase

The giant OK Corral will have the services of Derek O’Connor for this belting novices’ chase, lending itself to the belief this horse is being targeted at the four miler at Cheltenham. He certainly looks a stayer and although he clearly has a touch of class, he has a lot to find on his bare Plumpton win and I think Rocky’s Treasure will have too much boot and quality for him over this trip. Kim Bailey’s rising star has been a revelation over fences thus far and Warwick looks ideal for him.

Verdict:

Rocky’s Treasure

14:25 The Ballymore Leamington Novices' Hurdle Race

The defection of Rathhill is a real shame and leaves the door open for Tidal Flow to build on a highly professional win at Newbury last time out. Stoney Mountain is steadily progressive but needs to step up again, while Rockpoint looks a strong stayer who may find this 2m5f trip a bit on the sharp side.

Verdict:

Tidal Flow the most likely winner, Champagne Court is one if you’re looking for a big price.

15:00 The Classic Handicap Steeple Chase

Stamina and jumping fluency will be the order of the day for this gruelling 3m5f handicap chase. Running on good ground this year, the race has a different dynamic to most year, but it will still take some winning for the thirteen hopefuls lining up. Step Back wasn’t himself first time out at Chepstow but is well fancied to return to something like his bet365 Gold Cup winning form. Cogry looks to build on his Cheltenham win last time out, while many tipsters seem to be aboard the Duel At Dawn train. This race is as open as could be at the top of the market and it could pay to side with a couple at bigger prices...

Verdict:

Sizing Codelco has a big weight but will like the ground. At slightly shorter odds, James Bowen and Calett Mad make for an interesting partnership. He is highly tried in staying races and deserves to land one.

15:35 The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Race

First Assignment lost little in defeat to subsequent Grade 1 winner Paisley Park when they met at Haydock and Ian Williams’ exciting 6yo has a clear opportunity to keep making a name for himself today. Lungarno Palace and Notwhatiam have attracted plenty of each way support, while Blaklion - returning to hurdles after seemingly falling out of love with fences of late - has taken a bit of a drift in the market. The solid option could well be Keeper Hill off 10st 13lb and Harry Teal’s 5lb claim. This smart chaser took the return to smaller obstacles in his stride at Cheltenham last time out, travelling and jumping really well throughout and only finding the progressive Aaron Lad too strong on the day. That was a really good performance and I think he should take well to Warwick, so he looks very dangerous on a handicap mark of 139.

Verdict:

Keeper Hill to get the better of a good battle with First Assignment, Lungarno Palace to utilise a low weight and course experience to plug on for 3rd.

Kempton Park

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14:05 The 32Red Steeple Chase

With Black Corton probably booked to get outpaced over an inadequate trip, this looks a paper match between recent Peterborough Chase winner Charbel and Top Notch, who reverts to fences after a spin in a Grade 1 over hurdles. It is a really hot little race and a tough one to call...

Verdict:

Top Notch to prove a little too speedy

14:40 The Unibet Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle Race

Kloud Gate is an in-form and progressive sort with every chance and the Nicholls clan seem quite keen on their Darling Maltaix, but Lord Napier really caught the eye at Ascot last time out and will appreciate this step up in trip. Sean Bowen is a dynamo in the saddle and they look set to run a huge race. There are a couple of saver options too.

Verdict:

Lord Napier for the win, And The New / Canyon City saver options with 4 / 5 e/w places

15:15 The 32Red.Com Handicap Steeple Chase

A really trappy affair this one, with Barney Dwan and Glen Rocco just holding sway at the top of the market. But the third horse down the prices - Ballykan - has a big chance for Nigel Twiston-Davies and Daryl Jacob. This 9yo has been knocking on the door of a win and ran an encouraging race in a slowly run affair at Fakenham last time out. He’s ran well at Kempton before and looks well handicapped off 133 if he can produce his best here again.

Verdict:

Ballykan



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