Some decent jumps action across Britain and Ireland this Saturday afternoon, including the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton.
He didn’t manage to win in four novice outings last season but Erick Le Rouge showed potential and he is now delivering on that promise. He’s a perfect three-from-three since coming back from his summer break and is positively thriving now having his stamina further examined.
A winner at Bangor on his return, he then bolted up by some 19-lengths at Warwick on his second run of the term. He showed that was no fluke as he defied a 10lb hike to win over this C&D on Boxing Day, his first attempt over this trip. He’s been raised another 5lb by the assessor for that ¾L win, but he appeared to have more to give, had it been needed.
This progressive sort should have more to come and he looks set to give young rider Chester Williams the biggest afternoon of his career so far in the Lanzarote. He can emulate Majlis, Non So and Saphir Du Rheu since the turn of the century in winning this as a five-year-old.
Just before the Lanzarote there is a Listed Chase over 2m4½f at Kempton and it appears to lie between the top two on the racecard, given that the admirable Black Corton probably wants further to be at his best for Bryony Frost.
Charbel may go off favourite following his eight-length win in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon last time, where he beat the likes of God’s Own and Tea For Two with plenty to spare. His previous second behind Politologue arguably is better form still and, on collateral form through Art Mauresque, he can best Nicky Henderson’s Top Notch here.
The latter ran well in the Long Walk at Ascot over hurdles last month on his return and should be ripe for this, but Charbel’s aggressive tactics might serve it up to him back jumping fences.
The Leamington Novices’ Hurdle tends to go to a useful yardstick, with past winners including Inglis Drever, The New One and Willoughby Court. Nicky Henderson scored last year with Mr Whipped and the Seven Barrows supremo can do so again with Birchdale now.
He was well touted before winning on debut over C&D last time, quickening nicely despite the race being run at a sedate pace.
Both the second and third were next-time-out winners and, with improvement likely, Barry Geraghty’s mount is fancied to account for Newbury scorer Tidal Flow here.
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