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.

CROCKFORD’S DEAD CERT – RETURN SPRING (WARWICK 3.35)

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.

CROCKFORD’S WHISPER – DELL’ARCA E/W (KEMPTON 2.40)

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’S SELECTION – FIRST MOHICAN (KEMPTON 3.45)

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.

LUCKY CHANCER – RON’S DREAM E/W (WARWICK 3.00)

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)

Phillip Hobbs