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Longshot Ted: Solo to strike in Lanzarote at Kempton

Solo is tipped to go close in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton this Saturday.
Solo is tipped to go close in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton this Saturday.

In this week's column, Ed Quigley picks out his selections for the Relkeel Hurdle and Lanzarote Hurdle this weekend, as well as an eye-catching tip for the 2021 Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival...

If the weather takes a kind turn, we should be set for a cracking weekend of racing, with the rearranged Relkeel Hurdle at Kempton being one of the highlights. Thomas Darby is a horse who I have expressed in previous articles, as being one who I think could make up into a Stayers' Hurdle candidate, and can use this as a springboard before heading up to 3m. He was due to travel to Ireland over the Christmas period to tackle that trip for the first time in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown, but those plans were scuppered with the travel ban. Officially rated 156 he commands plenty of respect in this company, and if ground stays on the slower side that will aid his cause. McFabulous looks the big danger on paper, and a sounder surface would help his chances.

Earlier in the card, the 0-150 3m Handicap Chase looks a bit of a make or break contest for Slate House, but one that if he puts his best foot forward, he is more than entitled to win. He has rather lost his way since landing the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices' Chase just over a year ago, but has eased to a mark of 150, and takes a drop in class. Returning to the scene of his best performance to date, he has to be taken seriously with the return to 3m looking a major positive. When on song, he is a good jumper and a strong traveller, so you will probably know your fate from early on.

Cheltenham Festival Races

Paul Nicholls trains Solo, who is definitely of interest in the Lanzarote Hurdle. He has underwhelmed in recent times, but the step up in trip looks the right call, and his mark has plummeted from a peak of 157 down to 144. Still unexposed, he looks well up to winning in handicap company, back at the track where he pulverised the opposition in the Adonis Hurdle. Subsequent events would suggest that the form of that race isn't all that good, but racing off a much more workable mark, the Paul Nicholls representative rates a bet at the Sunbury venue.

Looking back at the action from the Christmas period, Abacadabras was a horse who failed to fire, finishing well beaten in the Matheson Hurdle. However, he was found with mucus in his trachea after the contest and was clearly off-colour like a few of Gordon Elliott's horses were at that meeting. I think on the basis of that run with a valid excuse for an 'off-day', there has been a negative overreaction to that performance which has been reflected in his price for the Champion Hurdle drift to 16/1. This is a genuine Grade 1 animal, who only got narrowly touched off by Shishkin in last year's Supreme, and the strongly run manner in which a Champion Hurdle is often run at will play to his strengths. I think he has been unfairly written off in some quarters and has gone into the ante-post portfolio accordingly.


Relkeel Hurdle, Kempton Park, Saturday 9th January - Thomas Darby, 1pt win at 13/2 (Unibet)

Lanzarote Hurdle, Kempton Park, Saturday 9th January - Solo, 1pt win, 16/1 (generally)

Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Handicap Chase, Kempton Park, Saturday 9th January - Slate House, 1pt win, 8/1 (generally)

Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham Festival, Tuesday 16th March - Abacadabras, 1pt win, 16/1 (generally)

Relkeel Hurdle
Thomas Darby silk

Thomas Darby

Lanzarote Hurdle
Solo silk


Kempton 13:45
Slate House silk

Slate House

2021 Champion Hurdle
Abacadabras silk


Cheltenham Festival Tips
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