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Victor Chandler writes . . .
5:22pm Friday 11th January 2013 in Sport
It's not the greatest weekend of racing on the calendar, but there's some fascinating sport nonetheless with the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton a particular favourite of mine.
Aruldur was considered a potential star earlier in his career for Alan King but returned to score well at Sandown and he must go close from an 8lb higher mark.
Preference is for lightly-raced Oscara Dara (2.40), who is certainly bred to appreciate the step up in trip for Nicky Henderson on his handicap debut.
His novice form gives him every chance off his current mark and it is interesting to see the Lambourn handler revert to hurdles after a decent first run over fences last month.
Stoney's Treasure was left on the same mark of 128 after running much better than the finishing position suggests at Newbury on his reappearance. The selection has winning form on soft and heavy ground but should have ideal conditions if the ground is as forecast (good to soft).
He only receives 10lbs from Golden Chieftain who ran an extraordinary race in the circumstances when third at Cheltenham last time given he clouted every fence when I recommended him at 20/1.
Golden Chieftain is a big danger but I have long been an admirer of Stoney's Treasure whose sound jumping is sure to be an asset around Kempton. Handtheprizeover is on a hat-trick but this represents a big step up in class and he is 8lb higher than for his latest win at Doncaster.
Forgotten Voice is likely to be all the rage for the finale but I would like to see him produce his form on soft ground before supporting him; the hope is that it is a good day for Alan King and Choc Thornton as preference is for Turn Over Sivola (3.50).
The selection was below par for whatever reason at Chepstow last time but he had looked a progressive sort before that race and he may have been found out by the very deep ground.
At Warwick, Kapga De Cerisy (1.15) is capable of much better than he has shown to date in limited opportunities over fences and he gets the nod in a cracking two mile handicap chase.
At Fishers Cross swerves the Grade 2 Novice Hurdle which makes the task of The New One (3.00) of Nigel Twiston-Davies much easier; he has looked a potential star in both starts over hurdles and should maintain his unbeaten record.
The Classic Chase at Warwick looks a sub-standard renewal but all eyes will be this season's Hunt Ball Pete The Feat who is looking for his sixth successive win and runs from a mark 40lbs higher than when making his first start for Charlie Longsdon at Uttoxeter back in October - he must have been a good thing then that's for sure!
He must run well but marginal preference is for Restless Harry (3.35) who is not the most fluent of jumpers but who stays all day and looks sure to run well at a track where Robin Dickin has a decent record.