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Ante-Post: Shotgun Paddy set for another Classic Chase success

Saturday’s Classic Chase over 3m 5f at Warwick promises to be an interesting affair and sixteen runners have stood their ground up until this point. It’s not exactly choc-full of potential improvers and that’s probably the main reason why we’re getting to see Return Spring head the market at 5/1, as he’s completely unexposed over fences with just three outings under his belt this season.


The Philip Hobbs trained 8-year-old must be one of the likelier types to be ahead of its mark and he does arrive here on the back of a solid effort behind King’s Palace at Cheltenham. There, over the extended 3m 1f trip, the son of Vinnie Roe finished third and despite being beaten 9-lengths at the line, it would have to rate as a career-best performance given how talented the winner seems.


It must be solid form in the context of a handicap like this, even off a mark of 142, and it’s easy to see that the horse could have even more to offer now stepped up to a marathon trip for the first time. However, all of his chase outings have come in small fields and this is going to test him a hell of a lot more, so the thought is that the current odds offer little-to-nothing in the way of value.


Last year’s winner and runner-up – SHOTGUN PADDY (7/1) and the vetern Carruthers – are up next in the market and it’s the first mentioned that should be backed. Things haven’t exactly panned out for the Emma Lavelle trained 8-year-old but we got to see his true worth when he came up trumps in this contest last term and now that he’s only 2lbs higher in the ratings, he doesn’t look overly-burdened despite having top-weight. His form has been indifferent since, even his neck-second at the Cheltenham festival wasn’t a true reflection of his ability (hit every fence going), but it’s easy to forgive his latest effort in the Welsh National and much better is expected on Saturday. Granted some good leaps, he’ll go close.


Selection for the Classic Chase (Saturday, 10th January; 3:35 Warwick):


 Shotgun Paddy – 1pt at 7/1, available generally.


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