Return Spring To Prove Classic Winner For Hobbs

Trainer Phillip Hobbs’ Return Spring to prove a winner in the Warwick Classic Chase this afternoon

Return Spring has put in a number of eye-catching efforts over the larger obstacles this season and looks well placed to take Warwick’s biggest race of the year – The Warwick Classic Chase. The mud-loving Hobbs horse will have no problems with the conditions having won over hurdles in heavy ground at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day 2014. Many of his rivals in the race look exposed and some come here after poor efforts in the Welsh Grand National. Alan King’s West End Rocker and Keighley’s Benbane Head are the dangers.

The Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton (2.40) looks within the grasp of the useful Dell’Arca who is a cut above the field. The winner of last season’s Greatwood has the ability to carry his weight to beat lesser competition.


The former good handicap hurdler has shown some excellent form over to the larger obstacles, finishing third behind the Cheltenham Festival fancy King’s Palace last time. His form was franked yesterday by Highland Retreat, who he beat at Exeter,  when she won a listed contest yesterday at Doncaster. Expect a bold show.


Excellent performer last year in handicap company, winning the Greatwood and finishing second in Betfair at Newbury. The Pipe horse is a cut above his rivals, expect a big run and double figure odds.


Archer would have known the potential over hurdles that this classy flat performer has. In handicap company the great jockey would have been desperate to take the ride.


Priced at 33/1 for victory, this Bowen horse is worth a lucky chancer. Ran well for a long way last time out in a listed mares contest and has won earlier in the season at Ffos Las beating the useful The Govaness. Better than her price.

Crockford’s Gambles on Saturday 10 January:

Warwick – Greywell Boy (1.20), It’s A Steel (1.55) and Handazan e/w (2.25)

Kempton – Cocktails at Dawn (1.00)

Wetherby – Bells ‘N’ Banjos (12.35), Horizontal Speed (1.10) and Attwaal (2.50)

Lingfield – Lujeanie e/w (1.30), Gold Trail e/w (2.05) and Dastarhon (2.35)

Punchestown – Apache Jack (12.40), Rogue Angel (1.50), Douvan (2.20), Truthwillsetufree (2.55) and Michael Flips e/w (4.00)

(Featured photograph – Phillip Hobbs by Stuart Rice)

Willie Mullins To Raid Kempton And Warwick Prizes

Irish trainer Willie Mullins to raid the big prizes at Kempton and Warwick this afternoon with a team of five stable stars

The champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins warned punters at the start of the season that he was planning to raid the big Saturday prizes in the UK. Teaming up with Ruby Walsh and David Casey he has sent across the Irish sea some formidable challengers;

Upazo (Kempton 1.35), Twinlight (Kempton 2.10), Glens Melody (Warwick 12.10), Rathvinden (Warwick 3.00) and Vesper Bell (Warwick 3.35)


However, most interestingly he has chosen to not make the journey himself, but instead will be with his leading owner Rich Ricci at Punchestown to watch the highly regarded Vautour in the Moscow Flyer Novices Hurdle at (2.20). Such a sign is worth noting but should not dissuade punters from backing his raiders.

In the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton the prize looks within the grasp of Paul Nicholls’s impressive winner Saphir Du Rheu. Always highly rated he showed his true potential last time out and should follow up with another win in (2.40)

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Saphir Du Rheu (Kempton 2.40)

Facile eight length winner at Sandown before Christmas beating Home Run, this Dead Cert appears to be improving and showing the true potential that he has. Nicholls knows how to win a big race and will win this with the favourite.

Crockford’s Whisper – African Gold  e/w (Warwick 2.25)

Connections have decided to revert to a hurdles campaign for this season after disappointment over fences in his last two runs. If he can come close to last year’s form he will certainly make a bold show in this company. The whisper he was not fully fit in his first run and his last run should be discounted.

Archer’s Selection – Galician (Lingfield 2.35)

Archer would have noticed the improvement she has made and that she is one of Johnston’s toughest fillies. He would have certainly wanted to be up on this one.

Crockford’s Gambles around the courses:

Kempton – Goodwood Mirage (11.55), Sergeant Dick e/w (12.25), Upazo (1.35), Twinlight (2.10), Saphir De Rheu and Home Run e/w (2.40), Buddy Bolero and Planet Of Sound e/w (3.15) and Deep Trouble (3.50)

Warwick – Glens Melody (12.10), Black Thunder (1.20), Sew On Target (1.55), African Gold  e/w and Grand Vision e/w (2.25), Rathvinden (3.00), Vesper Bell e/w  and Boyfromnowhere e/w (3.35)

Lingfield – Three D Alexander (12.20), La Napoule (1.30), Examiner (2.05), Galician (2.35), Well Painted (3.10) and Ocean Applause (3.45)

Wetherby – Red Sherlock (12.35), Pistol (1.10), Memory Cloth (1.45), Rody (2.15), Notus De La Tour e/w (2.50) and Free World (3.25)

Punchestown – Si C’Etait Vrai (12.40), Embracing Change (1.15), Vautour and Chicago e/w (2.20), Pink Hat (2.55) and Tarquinius e/w (3.30)


(Featured Photograph – Ruby Walsh at Cheltenham by Stuart Rice)