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Tony's Trends - Saturday 15th January 2022

The Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle, Kempton, 15 January 2022

Week one trends narrowed the selection to just two horses, which is positive news for the principal of the trend review. The winner, Prime Venture, was identified as a potential selection by this method.

Prime Venture was passed over last week due to nose bleed issues, which were dismissed by the trainer in an interview shortly before the race and after completion of the review.

This week we are going to look at the Class 1 (Listed) Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle running at 14.40 at Kempton, a right-handed, level track with a decent straight, which places emphasis on stamina when the going is soft.

While the race has been in existence for many years, in 2007 the distance was changed to 2m 5f and our trends will focus on the period since then. The final declarations are not out until Thursday, but the odds for our selection are sure to reduce once that happens, so we will try and get the value that currently exists.

Ages

All 14 previous winners were aged between five and nine years old. The one five-year-old was a Paul Nicholls French import, while the nine-year-old was only lightly raced and had been off the track for significant periods due to training issues.

It pays therefore to concentrate on horses aged six (7 winners), seven (3 winners) and eight years old (2 winners).

Odds

Of the previous winners, 11 were sent off at a single figure price and four favourites have won. Just three previous winners had an SP of 16/1 or more, two of which were in the last three years and in 2021 Boreham Bill won at huge odds of 66/1.

Interestingly, there has never been a winner with odds between 10/1 and 14/1.

Weights

Two previous winners won from out of the handicap, but both had claimers on board to address this.

All 14 previous winners carried no more than 11-07, but there is no major bias other than that, with winners carrying a range of weights of anything between 10-00 and 11-07.

  • All 14 previous winners had at least one other prep race that season, 12 ran between one and four times and only one had run more than five times.
  • 12 of the 14 previous winners had proven their stamina by running well in a race over a distance 2 miles 5 furlongs, although not always in the season in which they won. A fact which suggests that the trainer ran them over inadequate distances during the prep to preserve their handicap mark.
  • 8 out of 14 previous winners were placed in their final prep run, while three more had excuses. Either due to being run over a trip that was too short (Modus in 2017) or too long. One other fell when in contention and another was pulled up after being hindered during the race.
  • 11 of the 14 either competed at a major festival in the year before they won (Cheltenham or Aintree) or had run well over a course at a similar distance in the last year, so we need to focus on classy individuals.
  • All previous winners posted a seasonal RPR between 120 and 149, but more specifically, 13 of the 14 were between 127 and 149. Horses within that range who did not finish were either pulled up, or failed to stay over a longer distance. However, on their penultimate start they had posted an RPR within the range identified by the trends.
  • Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson have each trained three previous winners of this race.

Trend review

In short, the trends indicate we are looking for a young and reasonably unexposed sort who has not been over-raced prior to the Lanzarote.

As no horse has carried more than 11-07, we can discount the following immediately: Call Me Lord, Dandy Mag, Dans Le Vent, Ch’tibello (who is also too old) and Marie’s Rock.

We can also discount the older, more exposed types, which removes William Henry, Kateson, Commanche Red and Gleno. While Burrows Edge is only nine, he was off the track for a significant period of time and may be similar to last year’s winner, so is not entirely discounted on age. Similarly with only one winner being aged 5 we can also discount Green Book.

Next, we will exclude any runners who have failed to achieve a seasonal RPR of at least 127, namely: Rightplacerightime, Mackelduff, Burrows Edge, Fils D’oudariries, Foster’sisland, On My Command and Bold Plan.

The following horses have not been raced over a sufficient trip to prove their stamina and are also passed over as a result: Brief Times, Hudson De Grugy and Cabot Cliffs.

As 11 out of 14 had a single figure SP, it pays to focus on the top of the market. We will therefore discount those whose odds are too high (although if one is the subject of a gamble then it could need to be reconsidered before the start). The exclusions here are Press Your Luck, Belargus and Cary’s Commodity.

As the winner has either placed, or failed to deliver, due to the trip being too short or too long, we will next discount any horse who ran over the trip and failed to place. This takes out Monte Cristo and Quinta Do Mar.

Cobblers Dream is an improving sort and his trainer and jockey are having a wonderful season, but his highest RPR for the season is just 127, which makes him borderline. While he has not looked like stopping, his runs to date are just short of the distance, which again is close to the mark we are looking for. On account of two borderline trends, we will give him a miss for this one.

At the time of writing, both Up For Parol and and Highway One O Two have odds just outside those favoured by the trends. In addition, they like Cobbler’s Dream have also not run over the distance and proved their stamina, so they too are discounted

Further discussion

That leaves us with just three possible horses that meet all of the trends: Gelino Bello, Winter Fog and Earth Lord.

We will now look at yards and discount any runner whose yard who is currently out of form (not had a winner recently given the competitive nature of the race). This factor excludes Winter Fog, whose trainer has not had a winner from 34 runners in the last 70 days.

Earth Lord has improved markedly this season after stepping up in distance and is definitely one to be feared. The only knock on him is the quality of the opposition he has faced.

Gelino Bello has run well losing nothing in defeat to Blazing Khal on his last two runs, given how high that one is in the market for races at Cheltenham. He was closer to the same opponent over the 2m 5f distance, but raced over three miles last time and maybe did not see out that extra distance fully.

He is trained by Paul Nicholls who has supplied three previous winners of this race and whose runners claim the top four places 60% of the time. Nicholls has an alternative option, but Harry Cobden is already declared to ride him here and this race is far more valuable for this highly regarded sort.

Conclusion

Gelino Bello, currently on bet365 at 7/1 with 4 places, is likely to give Paul Nicholls another winner and is our chosen selection for this week.

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