Warwick Classic Chase 2014 Preview

The Warwick Classic Chase is a thorough test of stamina of nearly three and three-quarter miles. This year the going is likely to be extremely testing and a field of 16 are set to go to post for the Midlands marathon.

The Favourites

Bookmakers have struggled to find a clear favourite but Shotgun Paddy could emerge as the punter’s choice on Saturday. He is trained by Emma Lavelle who is aiming for a big-race double this weekend when Junction Fourteen runs in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton.warwickchase

Shotgun Paddy is still a novice but has been competing at a high level, twice finishing behind the smart Black Thunder. That horse could be heading for the Cheltenham festival in March and Shotgun Paddy would have run him close but for a bad blunder two from home last time.

Another leading fancy is Southern National winner Boyfromnowhere. He is trained in Wales by the popular Rebecca Curtis who enjoyed such tremendous success with At Fishers Cross last season. His victory at Fontwell was achieved in similarly testing conditions and he will keep battling away when others have cried enough.

Willie Mullins is sending more runners over from Ireland than in previous seasons and Vesper Bell makes his second cross-channel raid. He fell at the first fence in the Becher Chase at Aintree last time but has previously shown a preference for soft ground and should cope with these fences.

The Challengers

The top weight is 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup winner Carruthers who may have lost some of his dash at the age of eleven. This is also his first outing of the season but he has been backed in the ante-post market this week.

Hey Big Spender won this race in 2012 and showed his well-being with a victory at Newcastle in December. That encouraged connections to run him in the Welsh National at Chepstow but he floundered in the heavy ground and was pulled up.

Master Overseer is difficult to assess as he either wins or fails to complete. He was on a going day when winning the Midlands National in 2012 but looks to have plenty of weight for his first run of the new campaign. Nigel Twiston-Davies is a dab hand at these long distance chases and runs both Same Difference and Major Malarkey.

Same Difference was a game winner at the Cheltenham festival in March but has shown little sparkle in his first two outings and may be best watched for the time being. Major Malarkey won last time out and has sneaked in at the foot of the handicap so has each-way claims.

Any Currency is another in-and-out performer but there was little wrong with his latest effort. That was in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham in December where he ran home strongly behind Sire Collonges. He clearly has stamina in abundance and could run well at a big price. He is on offer at 16-1 with Bet365.

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