14 Jan 2017

Betfred Classic Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

The old Warwick National that was, which became the Classic Chase in 2004 and thereafter swiftly upgraded to Grade 3 status.

When you examine the winning times - which at Warwick is usually a much better idea than trusting official going - and then drill down on the data, the ideal profile for the race is: aged up to 10-y-o, weight up to 10-13 (when soft or heavy). Yards of particular interest are; A King, V Williams, P Nicholls & K Lee.

To emphasise the importance of weight, claiming riders aboard mounts that meet the basic criteria of age and weight have an extremely good general record. Since 2000 from just 12 such qualifiers; 2 winners 5/1, 20/1 and three placed 11/2, 10/1, 9/1. A very high percentage win or placed, especially when you consider 4 of the losers were rank outsiders priced 33/1+. Kerry Lee would know, her father was responsible for 2 of the ones that made the frame.

Run a hoof over this years' field and one name does jump out - French bred gelding RUSSE BLANC, who has the bonus of being in the care of none other than Kerry Lee and last years' winner to boot. The Lee family operate with great efficiency in extreme staying chases run in a bog and thus by trade, are nothing if not realists when it comes to weight. With Mr Richard Patrick's 7lb saving, Russe Blanc arrives here in the same net position as 2016.

The yard are in form and Richard Patrick is regularly riding their winners. This has undoubtedly been the plan for a while and Patrick had a nice quiet spin aboard the selection last month. That day there were the signs of revival you'd expect to see before the anchor was deployed. This is a yard who play the handicap game very well and I suspect the market is writing him off much too quickly. 

Russe Blanc, 1pt EW 20/1+, 4x1/4

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at: WWW.ENIGMARACING.NET/RACING-FORUM

** Feedback: a bad blunder costly when going well - tough for Kerry Lee to see her 25/1 outsider Goodtoknow finish 2nd, she picked the wrong horse to invest the 7lb claim...shame for us too! As ever, the first 3 home were all aged up to 10 with no more than 10-13. Roll on next year **
Does Kerry Lee again hold the key to the Classic Handicap Chase?

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