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Saphir Du Rheu can defy handicapper in Lanzarote Hurdle

All of the leading contenders have stood their ground for the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton with 13 set to go to post. The handicapper has imposed hefty weight increases on both Saphir Du Rheu and Junction Fourteen after both horses bolted up last time out.

Daryl Jacob could scarcely believe how well he was travelling aboard Saphir Du Rheu last time out as the gelding pulled his way into the lead up the home straight before easing eight-lengths clear. This race has been the target ever since and Harry Derham’s 5lb claim well help his cause.

Junction Fourteen also laughed at the handicapper when winning over course and distance and trainer Emma Lavelle is confident that a 16lbs rise won’t stop him. Richard Johnson has the ride on the son of King’s Theatre who has been favourite for the race since the market opened on Monday.

Nicky Henderson has only left in River Maigue from his original five entries whilst Philip Hobbs relies on If In Doubt. The latter is up 8lbs for a comfortable victory in a lower grade at Towcester and Tony McCoy rides in the JP McManus colours.

Kaylif Aramis has been significantly backed ante-post and Ryan Hatch takes 7lbs off the horse who caught the eye when sixth in the Ladbroke. Home Run represents David Pipe but he has a lot to do to turn the form around with Saphir Du Rheu from Sandown.

Charlie Longsdon’s Spirit Of Shankly and Dan Skelton’s Like Minded are both recent winners along with Foxcub and Maller Tree. Spirit Of Shankly could have the more scope for improvement among the quartet as he has only finished out of the frame once in nine career starts.

Dan Skelton got his training career off to a flying start when winning the Ladbroke Hurdle and has each-way claims with the ten-year-old Like Minded. He won gamely at Aintree last time and has only a 6lbs penalty. Art Professor, Party Rock and Gores Island complete the 13-runner field.