IT IS a fairly low-key weekend of racing, but there are some competitive handicaps to get stuck into at Kempton and Warwick.
The William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle (2.40pm) is the highlight at Kempton and I am confident that the in-form Nick Williams can improve his impressive record in this race with TEA FOR TWO.
Williams won back-to-back renewals in 2011 and 2012 and this looks to have been the aim for Tea For Two, who will be ridden by promising 7lb claimer Lizzie Kelly, the trainer’s step-daughter.
Tea For Two won over course and distance on his first start over hurdles back in October.
He was then beaten in a falsely-run race at Newbury in November, before comfortably seeing off his rivals at Towcester on Boxing Day.
If Kilcooley stands his ground at the head of the weights, Tea For Two will carry just 9st 12lb, including Kelly’s claim, and he looks an each-way steal at 6/1.
Over at Warwick, the big race is the Betfred Classic Chase (3.35pm) where three of the past four winners will attempt to win the prize again.
The most solid of those looks to be last year’s victor Shotgun Paddy who was very impressive 12 months ago and is now just 2lb higher in the weights.
He was well fancied for the Welsh National, but made a bad mistake at the second fence and was pulled up shortly afterwards. That may well prove to be a blessing in disguise as he didn’t have a hard race and will come here relatively fresh.
However, he still has to carry top weight which is no easy task in such a gruelling, competitive handicap.
Carruthers has a chance based on his second in the race last year, although he is very inconsistent these days, while Return Spring holds strong claims despite his inexperience.
The one I will be backing, though, is Oliver Sherwood’s GLOBAL POWER who has a nice racing weight and will relish the marathon trip and testing conditions. The 14/1 is a fair each-way price.
Trainer Sherwood has had an excellent season so far and he could be celebrating a double tomorrow as his DEPUTY DAN will love the step up to 3m in the Hampton Novices’ Chase (1.55pm).
Although slightly disappointing in his last two starts, it has all been happening a bit quick for him over shorter trips and he ran a stormer to finish second in last year’s Albert Bartlett.
DEPUTY DANS 1.55pm Warwick (tomorrow)
TEA FOR TWO e/w 2.40pm Kempton (tomorrow)
GLOBAL POWER 3.35pm Warwick (tomorrow)