Spotlight on the Lanzarote Hurdle
The race is named after Lanzarote the Champion Hurdle Winner in 1974 and is held at Kempton Park. This handicap hurdle race was previously ran over 2 miles, however from 2007 the race distance was changed to 2 miles 5 furlongs. The race was abandoned in 2001 & 2009.
Here are the trends and statistics of the race based on the last nine runnings on this occasion.
As you can see six-year-olds have had the monopoly on the winners count in recent years.
141 or higher: 2-4-27
130 to 140: 6-12-62
129 or lower: 1-5-41
If you concentrate on the 130-140 rating bracket again on Saturday it will narrow down the fourteen strong field to just eight contenders.
10st 10lb+: 5-12-66
10st 9lb or less: 4-9-64
It is very important to note the excellent record claiming jockey’s have had in the last nine runnings of this race, winning on four occasions. Four claimers line up in the race this year so you may want to keep a close eye on them.
Trainer Record (wins-placed-runners)
Paul Nicholls (2-2-9), Venetia Williams (1-0-5) trained last year’s winner, Yala Enki. Neil Mulholland (0-1-1), Suzy Smith (0-1-2).
5/9 had won one of their last two hurdling starts.
8/9 had run one to three times that season.
9/9 had won a hurdles race on a right-handed track.
Only one of the last nine winners had had more than eight career starts under Rules and that runner, Yala Enki, had only three starts in Britain after arriving from France.
Previous winners have been priced between 7/4 and 20/1 with all bar one returning to single figures. Three favourites and one joint-favourite have won.
The main contenders
Doesyourdogbite has an unbeaten record over jumps and represents Jonjo O’Neill and Aidan Coleman. The five-year-old won twice on the Flat for trainer Andrew Hollinshead and has completed a hat-trick since joining O’Neill with wins at Market Rasen, Hereford and over this course and distance. Although he has gone up six pounds for his last win, he seems to be learning all the time and has already proved to be more effective over hurdles than he was on the level. There is plenty to like about the five-year-old for sure and it is no surprise he is the antepost favourite.
Old Guard heads the weights having won both the Greatwood Hurdle and the International Hurdle at Cheltenham last season. He started the current campaign racing over fences but connections soon reverted back to hurdles. He was a distant third in this season’s International Hurdle at Cheltenham last month and must concede weight all round on his first start in a handicap in well over a year.
Paul Nicholls also saddles Modus in the race as he bids for a third success in this prestigious event following the previous victories of Nycteos (2008) and Saphir Du Rheu (2014).
Jaleo, trained by Ben Pauling, arrives here fresh from a comeback win at Lingfield after returning from nine month break. His run prior to that was well down the field at the Cheltenham Festival in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle. He holds a three out of three record on good to soft going and is very likely to improve being just five-years-old.
Last season this race was won by Yala Enki for trainer Venetia Williams and she could easily follow up this year with Bennys King who won last time out by three quarters of a length at Uttoxeter after a frustrating run of four second places in a row. The stable are in good heart with a decent strike rate around the country. Venetia William’s horses cannot be ignored when there is plenty of juice in the ground.
Neil Mulholland’s Kalondra is very consistent and has finished in the top three in all of his last six races. He won by a length at Ascot last time but he could be called the winner a long way out. An extra eight pounds has been allotted for that win but he looks the type who will have a good attempt at trying to defy the burden.
The returning pair of Sam Red (D.Skelton) and Fountains Windfall (A.Honeyball) are both considered, especially the latter who has gone well fresh before and looks open to improvement having won a maiden at Fontwell when last seen in May.
Chesterfield showed he retained some ability after a lay-off when eighth to Brain Power in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot, however he has something to prove over this distance.
Doesyourdogbite is without doubt on an upward curve and it is very hard to oppose any horse with some credentials, especially one trained by Jonjo O’Neill.
Aidan Coleman is also firing on all cylinders at the moment and at the time of writing this article, has banged in five winners from seventeen starts in the last week. He will be full of confidence going into Saturday’s feature race.
Forecast backers may want to include Venetia Williams’ Bennys King, who does not appear to know how to run a bad race.