Betfred Classic Chase 3m5f Warwick

First run under its present title in 2004, it superseded The Warwick National, which had its denouement in 2000. When run as ” The National ” lower weights were the order of the day, with quite a few winners coming from out of the handicap, but since it’s reinvention as ” The Classic ” a higher rated animal has been in the ascendency, with four of the last seven renewals being won by horses carrying 11st or more. Indeed Hey Big Spender won with the impost of 11st12lbs four years ago off a mark of 156. Inexperience hasn’t been a bar to success with two seven year olds, boasting only thirteen outings over the larger obstacles between them, coming home in front. (Baron Windrush 2007 and Shotgun Paddy 2014). Good recent form has proved important with seven of the last ten winners achieving a first three placing last time out. Paul Nicholls has an outstanding record with three winners from five runners, and Alan King hasn’t done so badly either, boasting two wins and a place from his seven entries over the past decade. Both Colin Tizzard and Venetia Williams have also hit the back of the net, but the Irish, who have six entries at the time of writing, have drawn a blank.

The Nicholls camp fields two competitors in this years renewal, and both are of interest. The 9yo Black Thunder was not unfancied for last weeks Welsh National, (he went off at 12/1 in the twenty runner field) but having been hampered at the 8th fence, he made a mistake at the 12th and unseated at the 13th. Every cloud has a silver lining however, and in this case the Nicholls contender was certainly saved a hard race, and when we note that two previous winners of Saturday’s contest had failed to complete in the Chepstow marathon, the performance need not be considered in a totally negative light. He races off a 3lb lower mark at the weekend so is worth considering.

The second Ditcheat contender, the 7yo Vivaldi Collonges, was having only his fourth outing over fences when trotting up in the Kelso mud (2m7 1/2f) at the beginning of December off a mark of 134. He has been raised 8lbs to a new mark of 142, but this animals pedigree is all about stamina and is highly likely to improve for Saturday’s step up in trip. It will be surprising to this observer if he doesn’t end the campaign on a considerably higher mark, and is short listed.

The Alan King trained Sego Success, got his act together when making all over 3miles at Doncaster off a mark of 139 five weeks ago. Sporting cheek pieces he led from the start and jumping for fun, he flew the last and stayed of strongly to win easily in a good time for the conditions. A winner of the novices chase on this card last year the tricky five fences down Warwick’s back straight should hold no fears so despite a 7lbs rise his chances are respected.

The Barbury Castle second string, Midnight Prayer is a very lightly raced 11yo who has had only sixteen career starts. He is three from seven over the larger obstacles, and showed what a classy animal he is when winning the 4miles National Hunt Chase at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival from Shotgun Paddy. Having his first run for a year he performed with credit when finishing fourth in a Newbury handicap seven weeks ago. He didn’t make it to the start for the welsh National because of a “coughing scare” but is now reported fit and off a mark of 135 giving him a nice racing weight of 10st7lbs this previous course winner looks well treated.

A winner of a Grade2 3m hurdle, giving him a rating of 148 over the smaller obstacles, Gordon Elliot’s Mala Beach should be much more at home over Saturday’s trip than the 2m5f chase he contested on his last visit to these shores, at Ascot before Christmas. Having clouted the first he didn’t have the necessary speed to trouble the winner but did finish second beaten 11L. That was only his fifth race over fences and apart from the initial blunder his jumping was fine, so in the hands of his superb trainer, it would come as no surprise to see this well treated horse (6lbs lower than his hurdle rating) run a big race at the weekend.

Selection: Vivaldi Collonges.

E.W. : Midnight Prayer. If absent Mala Beach.

Racing Betting Tips Betfred Classic Chase At Warwick

Shotgun Paddy

Last years winner, Shotgun Paddy is only 4lbs higher this time round so must be seriously considered.

First run as the Classic Chase in 2004, it originally was called the Warwick National Chase. With 3m 5f to travel and 22 of Warwicks tricky fences to negotiate it is not a race for the faint hearted and is a contest on the schedule of many Grand National aspirants. Interestingly no horse has managed the double to date. Weight has been no bar to success with four winners shouldering more than 11st in the past decade. There have been no winners younger than seven and the 11yo D’Argent has been the oldest animal to win in the same timespan. Alan King and Paul Nicholls have both trained two winners, with Colin Tizzard, Emma Lavelle, and Venetia Williams on the scoresheet once. Experience while desirable, is not essential. Baron Windrush and Eurotrek, winners in 2005 and 2006 had only competed in ten chases between them, and last years winner, Shotgun Paddy, was having only his fourth outing over the larger obstacles.

Philip Hobbs’s Return Spring with only three runs in chases has a somewhat similar profile in this years renewal, and at the time of writing heads the market at 5/1. A latecomer to chasing, he has performed with credit in his last two races. Last time he ran third to the highly promising Kings Palace and his own stable companion Sausalito Sunrise at Cheltenham in December, having previously got the better of Highland Retreat in a 3ml novices chase on heavy ground at Exeter. However both races were four runner affairs, so it remains to be seen how he copes with Saturday’s large field. On the plus side judging from his breeding ( by Vinnie Roe out of a Supreme Leader mare ) and his racecourse appearances, he is all about stamina, so should be well served by Saturday’s likely conditions.

Last years winner, Shotgun Paddy is only 4lbs higher this time round so must be seriously considered. In last years renewal he beat that hardy old warrior Carruthers, ( 11lbs better off this year ) by 6l and went on to run a marvellous race in the 4ml amateur chase at the Cheltenham festival going down by a hd to Midnight Prayer. Brought along slowly by his excellent trainer, Emma Lavelle, he was having only his second run since Cheltenham, when nearly capsizing at the 2nd in the Welsh National. He was pulled up five fences later, and in view of the awful ground this may well have been a blessing in disguise. Definitley one for the short list!

Martin Keighley’s Benbane Head ran a fine race four weeks ago. The evergreen 11yo stayed on strongly up the Cheltenham hill to draw clear of the well backed favourite The Ould Lad to win by 9l off a mark of 127. He is up a quite severe looking 8lbs on Saturday, but will have the benefit of Conor Shoemarks 3lbs claim. While he did win a bumper on heavy ground, testing conditions, one feels would be against him.

Oliver Sherwood’s Global Power has a nice racing weight of 10st7lbs and looks well treated. Having his first run for 12 months, and probably needing it he was beaten 7l by Ballyoliver at Carlisle. He is 6lbs better off on Saturday so must have good prospects of reversing the form, particularly as he improved again to run Theatrical Star to a nk at Fontwell despite making a mistake at the last. Given testing conditions at the weekend he is well worth considering.

Alan Kings 2011 winner, the 13yo West End Rocker is another defying old Father Time. He showed that he still has what it takes when winning a veterans race when ploughing through the mud at Lingfield in December off a mark of 135. Despite a 4lb rise he is only 6lbs higher than 2011 and as his trainer reports him to be in top condition he is another to consider.

Venetia William’s 10yo Rigadin de Beauchene has to defy a 21lbs higher mark than when successful in 2013. He has not run for nearly nine months but did win a cl1 gd3 chase at Haydock last Febuary very easily off a mark of131 after a similar break. He is obviously an animal that goes well fresh but having been pulled up in four of his last races and now racing off 143 he is hard to recommend. Perhaps the stables best chance is with their other runner Ballyoliver.

Selection: Shotgun Paddy.

E.W : Global Power.