Indian up for Lanzarote test
Ben Pauling is hoping Red Indian can justify his faith with a big run in the Lanzarote Hurdle (14:40) at Kempton on Saturday afternoon.
The six-year-old is unexposed after just four runs over hurdles and his trainer pinpointed this race following a promising reappearance at Cheltenham in November.
There, Red Indian finished a creditable third on ground that would have been deemed much more testing than desirable.
That was his first attempt over the two-mile five furlong trip and Pauling hopes he might now be on a good mark having been raised only one pound for that effort.
In-form rider David Bass returns in the saddle and he has struck a useful relationship with Red Indian in three runs, with the pair yet to finish outside the front two.
He should run a very nice race and should be well handicapped.Ben Pauling
Red Indian is 8/1 for Lanzarote Hurdle success and Pauling is hopeful of a big run, though he admits it is a fiendishly tough renewal of the prestigious Listed contest.
"It looks like a very hot race, but our horse is in good form and we said after he ran at Cheltenham this was the race we'd aim for. He's coming into it nice and fresh and he'll handle the ground," said the trainer.
"He should run a very nice race and should be well handicapped, but it is probably as competitive a renewal of the Lanzarote as I can remember."
A field of 16 are set to go to post, with Barry Geraghty hoping to secure back-to-back wins in the colours of his boss JP McManus.
Successful on Modus for Paul Nicholls a year ago, Geraghty now teams up with 8/1 chance River Frost for Alan King.
He finished fifth in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow on his seasonal comeback in October, form that has worked remarkably well given the winning feats of Sam Spinner, Wholestone, Old Guard and Bags Groove since.
Trainer Nick Williams meanwhile has won the Lanzarote three times since 2011, with Lizzie Kelly famously partnering Tea For Two to glory in 2015.
That trainer/jockey partnership combined to excellent effect at Huntingdon on Friday and they have a potential improver lurking in the Kempton line-up with Dentley De Mee, who ran a fine second on his handicap bow at Ludlow over the trip and has been kept for this race. He's 25/1 to provide another winner of the Lanzarote for the yard.
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