Duel at Dawn can gun them all down

The Racing Paper - - Trends And Diary - by John An­thony

THE War­wick Clas­sic has es­tab­lished it­self as a good start to the year for stay­ing chasers and there are some good trends to nar­row the field.

A re­cent run is a very im­por­tant fac­tor, with all of the past ten win­ners hav­ing been on the track within the past 40 days or so.

It has been pretty much a must for your se­lec­tion to have tasted suc­cess over 3m or fur­ther in a chase, with shoul­der­ing less than 11st 2lb an­other pos­i­tive fac­tor.

There has been a fair spread of ages but you are best stick­ing to horses aged no older than 11, while win­ning last time out has been a ma­jor neg­a­tive.

Maybe this is for chasers who are on their way up rather than hav­ing been clob­bered by a rise in the weights for a vic­tory last time out.

You should stick to horses that have picked up at least a cou­ple of pre­vi­ous wins over fences too.

Weigh­ing up all the trends op­tions, DUEL AT DAWN seems to fit the bill clos­est from this year’s hope­fuls.

He has the all-im­por­tant re­cent run from a quiet but en­cour­ag­ing spin around Hay­dock just be­fore Christ­mas and took a chase over an ex­tended 3m at Ex­eter five runs ago.

He is a nine-year-old with a handy rac­ing weight of 10st 5lb who should come on for that last out­ing.

Kemp­ton hosts the Lan­zarote Hur­dle at 2.40 where it has been im­por­tant to stick with horses aged no more than seven.

That cuts out a cou­ple of this year’s line-up, with And The New and Theatre­bar both too old to be win­ning.

The rest of them pass the other key test of hav­ing been on the race­course within the past 50 days.

Out­siders have a mod­er­ate record so we’ll cross out Canyon City, Sleep Easy, Solomon Grey and Big Time Dancer who are get­ting on for 20/1 and big­ger.

Turn­ing to the of­fi­cial rat­ings, it’s gen­er­ally best to be higher than 129 for this classy con­test, which is a neg­a­tive for likely favourite Kloud Gate, Mel­low Ben and Mil­nrow.

At the other end of the spec­trum, no Lan­zarote Hur­dle win­ner has had more than 11st 7lb on their back.

So Erick Le Rouge, Dar­ling Maltaix and Doux Pretender all have that par­tic­u­lar hand­i­cap to over­come.

That leaves us with a three-horse short­list of Cotswold Way, Star Of Lanka and Lord Napier.

Star Of Lanka has been run­ning well in lesser races and trainer War­ren Greatrex wouldn’t be step­ping him into this com­pany with­out feel­ing he had a strong chance.

He bat­tled well to win at Here­ford last time, fol­low­ing up an­other suc­cess at that venue. He clearly de­serves his place here and has each-way claims.

Cotswold Way is an­other who has been win­ning and landed a hat-trick of suc­cesses with plenty left in the tank at Le­ices­ter last time out.

It was all the more im­pres­sive be­cause he was headed late on be­fore get­ting back up to win. He stays well and the hand­i­cap­per has been fair with a 4lb hike for that suc­cess.

Philip Hobbs’ run­ner has a chance but we’ll go for LORD NAPIER.

Al­though he hasn’t been win­ning, Peter Bowen’s sixyear-old has been per­form­ing with credit in much bet­ter races than the other short­listed horses.

He was bet­ter than sixth place sug­gests at As­cot last time be­cause he was set back by a slow jump as the pace picked up. He com­posed him­self and fin­ished well in that Grade 3 con­test.

The hand­i­cap­per has left his mark alone and this step up in dis­tance could bring enough im­prove­ment to bring him right into this.

Top gun:Duel at Dawn looks good for the War­wick Clas­sic

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