Look to Lucca
Ian Ogg believes that Duke Of Lucca can outrun his odds in Saturday's Racing Plus Chase.
By Ian Ogg
Last Updated: 19/02/13 12:24pm
David Bridgwater has made no secret of the high regard in which he holds Wyck Hill, a horse he considers could develop into a Gold Cup contender, while the BHA's head handicapper revealed that he had found him a difficult horse to rate for the Grand National.
It's no great surprise, therefore, to find the nine year old residing at the head of the market for Saturday's Racing Plus Chase at Kempton Park.
He's won his last two, most recently from Katenko who he beat by four lengths and it's that success that points to his chance here.
Just 7lbs higher than at Ascot, the runner-up has won since and risen 22lbs in the weights suggesting that Wyck Hill could prove to be very well treated at the weekend.
Is it really that simple?
Would he be shorter if he were trained by Paul Nicholls or Nicky Henderson?
Nicholls is responsible for second favourite Rolling Aces whose form stacks up well and the seven year old novice is progressing nicely but the layers are hardly giving anything away with quotes of 7/2.
The horse that does interest me at the prices is a href="http://www.skybet.com/horse-racing/antepost/future-national-hunt-races?&aff=681" target="newwin">Duke Of Lucca whose odds range between 14/1 and 20s.
Philip Hobbs has a decent record in this contest over the years and is also represented by 2011 winner Quinz but, for my money, he has more to prove than his stablemate.
Duke Of Lucca hasn't been sighted since finishing well down the field in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury but the hurly-burly of that contest was never going to suit this eight year old who has achieved five of his six wins in single figure fields.
He's never won a handicap but has been given every chance to do so with a 4lb drop for that Newbury run meaning that he's able to line up from his lowest ever chase mark.
His only previous outing at Kempton came on this card last year when he ran well for a long way behind the decent Cristal Bonus suggesting that the course will suit while there are no problems with either the trip of the underfoot conditions.
This year's Hennessy has worked out well with Tidal Bay, First Lieutenant and Teaforthree all doing their bits for the form while even thirteenth home Carruthers has won twice since.
All in all, there's plenty to suggest that Duke Of Lucca can outrun his odds but an each-way interest is recommended with the acknowledgement that Wyck Hill may just be thrown in.