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Saturday tips: Chris Dixon's best bets plus horses to follow

By Chris Dixon@cdixon82
Thu 13 Jan 2022

Form expert Chris Dixon has two fancies in the Lanzarote Hurdle and Classic Chase on Saturday plus also pinpoints a handful of horses that have caught the eye over the past week.

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This coming weekend can often be one of the lower key ones of the jumps season, but I always enjoy the two big handicaps - the Classic Chase at Warwick and the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton - on Saturday.

Although a test of stamina, the Agetur UK Ltd Classic Handicap Chase is often won by a horse who can race handily and get into a good jumping rhythm. Recent Cheltenham winner Commodore fits the bill in that regard and he has a sound chance, but I prefer the less exposed Gericault Roque.

An unexposed six-year-old, he’s yet to win over fences, but he’s bumped into a couple of very progressive horses when finishing second on his last two starts and could easily be coming here a good bit higher in the weights than he is.

Watch how Gericault Roque fared over 3m2f last time out

Still open to improvement, he’s going to be in against a slightly more exposed bunch than has been the case so far, and I think will have more in hand off his mark than the opposition.

A top price of 11-2 is currently available and anything at 4-1 plus seems fair enough to me.

Winter Fog was one of several jostling for favouritism in the Coral Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle. However, Emmet Mullins has decided not to declare his charge and, at the current odds, I am interested in Dans Le Vent as an each-way play at a general 14-1 in the £100,000 feature.

A small field in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham last time wasn’t really his bag, but big-field handicaps run at a strong pace certainly are and, at the entry stage, it looks as though the make-up of this race is likely to suit him well.

He may not have loads in hand off his mark, but he was fairly impressive at Haydock and this could represent the perfect storm for him so, at the odds, I’m happy with a small each-way play.

Onto the latest notebook horses, here’s a few names to add to your racingtv.com tracker.

Sabbathical

Trainer: Evan Williams.

Sabbathical hasn’t yet managed to build on his win at Fakenham in November on a couple of subsequent starts, but neither race has seen him to best effect and he looks capable of winning again soon.

Off the bridle before the turn for home here, he kept plugging away to finish third, ultimately looking like a horse who had more to give.

My suspicion is he wants a longer trip now (he has won over 2m4f), although he probably also has a bit of a lazy streak and the reapplication of headgear could be what he needs (two of his three wins in headgear).

If he gets either of those things soon, I’ll be taking a good look at him.

Tigerpomp

Trainer: Chris McSharry.

Tigerpomp had shown glimmers of ability in her limited number of starts prior to her handicap debut at Wetherby on Friday and did so again as she took fourth spot.

Impressing with how she travelled, she was just caught out slightly as those ahead of her quickened up early in the straight, but she stuck to her task at the one pace suggesting a slightly longer trip, or stronger early pace, at this trip could suit.

Dropped 4lb for this, she’s eligible for some low level races now (including mares only company) and has the ability to win off her mark.

Sid’s Annie

Trainer: Mark Usher.

Third in what appealed as a pretty strong race for the grade at Southwell on Sunday, Sid’s Annie was better than the bare result and looks on an attractive mark.

Drawn wide, she was kept out heading into the first turn and without any cover, or the hood that she’d worn on her three previous starts, she didn’t fully settle.

Also too close to the strong pace, she did well to keep going as well as she did to get third and is well up to landing a handicap off her current mark soon.

Given the way she raced here, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a hood back on next time but, either way, I’ll be interested in her for a similar level handicap.

Bridge North

Trainer: Henry Daly.

Bridge North managed to get his head in front for the first time at Ludlow on Monday and looks one to follow as he goes up in trip. Kept to his local track for this fourth start, Bridge North looked in a spot of bother as they turned for home but his stamina and good attitude kicked in to allow him to wear down the pair who were ahead of him to get up close home.

It’s unlikely this track provides him with his optimum test, especially at this trip, and he’ll improve further as he gets a greater test of stamina, at which point I think he can leave behind his opening mark of 122 behind.

Every excuse

Numitor was disappointing having been well backed for the 2m handicap chase at Sandown on Saturday but he had a couple of possible excuses.

A jostle for the early lead probably wasn’t ideal for him and that, coupled with his tendency to jump left, meant he never got into a good rhythm plus made a few mistakes.

He’d been in good form before this and the market support behind him here may well be rewarded another day when returning to a left-handed track.

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