Trainer Olly Murphy has returned to form with a vengeance, so Notre Pari has leading claims of providing him with a big race winner in the Listed 2m 5f Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday (14:40).
This six-year-old ran well to finish runner-up in his sole start in an Irish point, after which he was purchased by leading owner JP McManus and sent to join Murphy.
He then shaped with stacks of promise on hurdling debut for his new handler when third of 15 to Elusive Belle at Warwick last April.
After being held-up in mid-division, Notre Pari made good headway to track the leaders two from home before keeping on under tender handling to be beaten 3 1/2 lengths.
The winner is a smart sort who earlier in the season had finished a 2 1/4 lengths runner-up to subsequent dual Grade 1 Reserve Tank.
She ran very well on her first start this season when third to Champion Hurdle favourite Epatante in a Listed contest at Newbury and is now rated 136. That gives the form a strong look.
After disappointing when only fourth on seasonal reappearance at Fontwell, Notre Pari ran really well when a staying on 1 1/4 lengths second to Timetochill – a winner again since and now rated 133 – over 2m at Market Rasen.
Impressive at Aintree
Notre Pari then opened his account in good style last time out at Aintree on handicap debut.
He relished the step up to 2m 4f and only needed driving out to readily beat One Night In Milan by 2 1/4 lengths off an opening mark of 122. Notre Pari was value for more than the winning margin.
The runner-up, as well as the third and fourth home, have all come out and run well since. That again gives the form a solid look and suggests an 8lb rise in the weights for Notre Pari is fair.
A revised rating of 130 could still seriously underestimate his ability judged on his runs behind Elusive Belle and Tiometochill, especially given he’s a lightly-raced and unexposed sort who is clearly going the right way.
So, with Murphy operating at a strike rate of 28.5 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing, and the step up to 2m 5f looking sure to suit, Notre Pari makes plenty of appeal at the 7/2 on offer with Unibet to land this prestigious contest.
Burrows Edge the pick of Henderson duo
Lambourn handler Nicky Henderson has won two of the last seven renewals of the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle, and saddles two contenders this time around in the shape of Burrows Edge and Theinval.
Preference is for the former who, like stablemate William Henry (winner of this in 2018), is returning to hurdles after an unsuccessful chasing debut having fell last time out at Ludlow.
This seven-year-old has won twice and been placed three times from seven starts over the smaller obstacles. He has also hit the frame in both his starts over course and distance.
After landing two novice contests at the start of 2018, Burrows Edge went on to run a cracker on handicap debut on his final start of the campaign when a keeping on six-length sixth of 20 to Ballymoy in a hot class 2 affair over 2m at Sandown off an opening mark of 130.
The winner is a useful sort who has won three times since to be rated 151 and the race has thrown-up a whole host of subsequent winners. It gives the form a strong look.
Burrows Edge also ran really well on his first start last season when staying on strongly to be beaten just a neck by Erick Le Rouge over course and distance off the same rating.
He also showed that his current mark of 132 was exploitable when third, again over course and distance, next time up.
Stable jockey Nico De Boinville has also chosen to partner him over Theinval, so Burrows Edge looks to have a lot going for him.
He thus rates a solid each-way betting proposition at the 7/1 on offer with Ladbrokes here.
Northofthewall another with Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle claims
Northofthewall is the sole representative for trainer Dan Skelton. who loves nothing more to lay one out for a valuable prize like this, so that makes him a fascinating contender on handicap debut and of obvious interest.
This six-year-old has had four starts this season and showed improved form with each outing.
He finished in front of Notre Pari when runner-up on return to action at Fakenham and then ran well when third to Mason Jar at Ascot.
Northofthewall backed that up with a solid second to Millers Bank over 2m at Bangor when making a mistake four from home, before being beaten just 3 1/2 lengths.
The winner has since followed-up in fine style when scoring at Market Rasen by 14 lengths to be rated 130, whilst the third home Vienna Court looked a desperately unlucky loser next time up on handicap debut at Newbury off 122 and went down by just a neck.
That gives the form a strong look. It suggests that the assessor may have taken a real chance in allotting Northofthewall, who has since opened his account with a facile 14-length success over 2m at Hereford, an opening handicap mark of just 126.
He does have stamina to prove now stepped up significantly in trip, but the way in which he powered clear lat time out to win with any amount in hand indicates it is unlikely to be an issue.
There is also undoubtedly more to come from him, so a bold bid looks assured and Northofthewall can be backed at 7/1 with Betfred to go in again in the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle.