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How To Bet £20 on Saturday: Plan can come to fruition at 28-1

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Fri 14 Jan 2022

Evan Williams has a happy knack of landing valuable handicaps and his two runners in the Coral Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton Park on Saturday both warrant support.

The £100,000 feature has drawn a maximum field of 20 and Williams has contenders at either end of the weights in Dans Le Vent and Bold Plan. I imagine the trainer feared the latter would not make the cut for much of the week but, having sneaked in, he is well worth a second look at the 28-1 on offer with bet365.

This eight-year-old has shown flashes of being a good horse and his future looked bright when he upstaged The Big Breakaway in a novices’ chase at Exeter little more than a year ago. Things have not gone to plan in four subsequent runs – three of them over hurdles this season – but the handicapper has been swift to ease him 10lb to a career-low mark of 124.

It was only five hurdle runs ago that Bold Plan went off favourite for a competitive handicap at Ascot off a rating of 140, having previously won well off 130. It’s too early to be writing him off and he caught the eye at Hereford last time when tenderly handled, having shaped as if needing his first two starts this campaign.

 Bold Plan has slipped in the ratings and is available at 28-1 (Focusonracing)
Bold Plan has slipped in the ratings and is available at 28-1 (Focusonracing)

There’s looked nothing obviously wrong with his attitude but first-time cheekpieces could add an edge (or at least an explanation for the stewards if he suddenly bounces back to form) and Sean Bowen, on board for that defeat of The Big Breakaway, and also when he mastered the smart Southfield Stone in a novices’ hurdle, is reunited with him.

You perhaps have to take a leap of faith to support Bold Plan but that’s not the case with his stablemate, Dans Le Vent, who is 12-1 with plenty of firms, including William Hill, who offer six places.

He’d already run massively eye-catching races in defeat at Aintree’s Grand National Meeting (2m 4f) and in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las (2m) before landing a hot 3m handicap hurdle in fluent fashion at Haydock last month. He’s clearly most versatile regards trip and his 7lb rise looks fair, with the fifth and seventh subsequently winning competitive races.

Dans Le Vent also ran well when finishing within hailing distance of Stormy Ireland and McFabulous in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham a fortnight ago, given he had loads to find on bare ratings and that the race didn’t unfold ideally for him. Regular rider Isabel Williams, unable to use her 5lb claim because of the race’s status, spared him a hard time and this is a race in which conditional jockeys have an exceptional record.

Six of the past eight renewals have been won by a “claimer” and in half of those renewals they’ve also ridden the runner-up. That is some going given that only 31 of the 111 runners (about 28 per cent) in this period have been partnered by them.

If you think that’s a small pool to be drawing conclusions from, then consider that a conditional rider has ridden the Lanzarote winner, or finished second, in 14 of the past 15 renewals, with the victors including a 66-1 chance and the runners-up featuring a 100-1 poke. The odd year out was in 2019, when the one conditional to take part, Lucy Turner, finished fourth aboard Burrows Park. Seven conditionals are involved this time.

Williams Sr is represented by No Rematch in the £100,000 Agetur UK Ltd Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick but he folded quickly on his return at Exeter last month, having made it to the track just once last season. I made a case for backing Gericault Roque at 7-1 earlier in the week, and suggested a small saver on the similarly unexposed Corach Rambler at 13-2.

The pair have shortened up, but if you’ve missed the boat and want an each-way alternative then consider The Hollow Ginge at the 14-1 available with William Hill (they are offering five places). He’s not the most consistent but shaped with loads of encouragement on his return at Cheltenham and has had a wind op since running below-par at Newbury last time.

Sire Du Berlais, the Stayers’ Hurdle runner-up and two-time Pertemps Final winner, will attempt to give between 7lb and 26lb to his rivals in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle. He was a long way off his best at Leopardstown over Christmas and I wouldn’t read much into him being Gordon Elliott’s selected runner from a team of nine at the start of the week. With the Cheltenham Festival a couple of months away, it’s more likely he was curious to see the ratings given to some of his horses by the British assessor.

One horse who could do with going up in the weights to make the cut for the Pertemps Final is the 132-rated Riggs, and he very much looks the one to beat after chasing home the aforementioned Dans Le Vent when upped to 3m for the first time at Haydock last time. Two of the also-rans from that race have since won Pertemps qualifiers and the progressive Riggs can follow their example.

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There are also a couple of Grade Two races on the card, with the prolific Threeunderthrufive a general 8-15 to land the Wigley Group Hampton Novices' Chase. He’s the most likely winner, despite his 5lb penalty, but I want to take him on at the price because he’s all about stamina and would surely be more at home on a more galloping track.

Mint Condition, chalked up at 9-2, looks a solid alternative a year on from running so well over hurdles at the meeting, when beaten a neck by Adrimel. He’s quickly reached a similar level over fences, narrowly failing to peg back Kiltealy Briggs (since third in the Kauto Star) at Haydock before going one better in game style over 2m 6f at the same track last time. The move up to 3m will suit and he’s got more to offer.

Surrey Quest and Party Business dominate the market for the Ballymore Leamington Novices' Hurdle but the pair could have their work cut out getting to grips with front-running Stag Horn. A smart stayer on the Flat, rated 103 in that sphere, the five-year-old measured most of his hurdles well when scoring on his jumps debut at Hereford last month.

There’s also some substance to that effort as World Of Dreams, who chased him home, had previously won at Fontwell and has since resumed winning ways in convincing style at the main expense of another promising winner at Plumpton.

How To Bet £20 on Saturday

1.50 Warwick: Mint Condition £3 win at a general 9-2

2.25 Warwick: Stag Horn £3.50 win at 5-1 with Sky Bet

2.40 Kempton: Bold Plan £1 win and £2.25 each-way at 28-1 with bet365 (five places)

2.40 Kempton: Dans Le Vent £2.25 each-way at 12-1 with William Hill (six places)

3.35 Warwick: Riggs £3.50 win at a general 11-4

Already advised

How To Bet £20 ante-post on the Classic Chase

3.00 Warwick: £17 win on Gericault Roque £17 win at 7-1

3.00 Warwick: Corach Rambler £3 win at 13-2

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