The Lanzarote Hurdle (Sat 9th January) is a class 1 handicap hurdle run over 2 miles 5 furlongs at Kempton Park, and in the last decade it has been won by six 6-year-olds, with 7 of the 10 winners carrying less than 10-11.
Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson have both trained two recent winners.
So let’s take a look at this year’s runners.
Baron Alco 12/1
The 5-year-old is on a four-timer for the in-form Gary Moore who has won this 3 times since 1997, and he won his last start over course and distance. Set to carry a light-weight.
This Nicky Henderson runner still looks well-handicapped after winning impressively on his seasonal debut, and looks to have been saved for this. It’s also interesting that both of Nicky Henderson’s previous winners carried over 11-0.
Blue Hell 12/1
Yet to race over this far, but could still have some juice in his handicap mark for in-form Irish trainer.
Brother Tedd 14/1
Course and distance win was followed by a decent 3 lengths third to Rock On Ruby but must defy top-weight, which has proved beyond many in the past.
Buiseness Sivola 12/1
Hard to dismiss any Willie Mullins raider, but is only 5 and carries a big weight.
Gevrey Chambertin 16/1
You have to admire his tenacity, but 3-miles on a left-handed track has been his optimum conditions so far.
Ibis Du Rheu 6/1
Has the look of a well-handicapped horse for Paul Nicholls, but stable form is off-putting at such a short price.
Little Boy Boru 33/1
On a very similar mark to when runner-up in last year’s renewal, but came into that race in much better form than he is now.
Simply A Legend 12/1
Very closely matched with Baron Alco on their close fought finish over course and distance, and is another with a nice low-weight.
Sky Khan 25/1
Had plenty of runs and, though in form, it’s hard to see him suddenly improving enough to take this class 1.
Western Warrior 8/1
Impossible to know how much improvement he could have in him after just a few runs, but the 7-year-old only won a class-4 last time.
Yala Enki 14/1
Impressive winner of only right-handed start in this country, and this 6-year-old wasn’t disgraced in the big fixed-brush hurdle class 1 at Haydock last-time. Likes to be prominent, and this test could suit ideally.
Bivouac strikes me as the best handicapped horse in the field, and I expect him to run a big race as both of Nicky Henderson’s previous winners of the race have carried over 11-0. However, it’s Yala Enki who ideally fits the weight and age statistics – and I’m happy to take both against the field.
Bivouac @ 8/1 (Ladbrokes)
Yala Enki @ 14/1 (Paddy Power)