In 2007 the BHA took the unusual step of increasing the distance of the Lanzarote Hurdle from 2m to 2m5f, making it altogether a very different race.
Trends that were perhaps prevalent for the contest in its old format may not be relevant now, while other patterns have continued despite the hike in distance.
Nevertheless, it is our job to crank all the numbers and use the trends that we do have to find our readers the most likely victor at the Sunbury-on-Thames track.
Here are all the numbers that matter:
17 – The last 17 victors were either previous course winners or were having their first run at the track
13 – All of the last 13 winners of the race, in both its guises had between one and three hurdle wins to their name
12 – Of those 13, 12 had run in the previous seven weeks. Race fitness looks vital
10 – Since 2002, 10 winners have returned a price of 10/1 or shorter
9 – Nine of the last 13 victors all carried less than 10-12 to triumph
5 – Five of the seven winners since the race was upped in distance had not previously won over as far as 2m4f
4 – Just four of the last 17 winners were officially rated higher than 138
1 – Only one horse older than seven-years-old has won this race since 1988
It is clear we are looking for something that has had a run in the last couple of months, had not previously been beaten at the course, fairly low in the weights, and was prominent in the betting.
Despite there being just eight trends here to follow, we can draw up a shortlist of three horses.
Bordoni is included despite being a 12/1 shot, as he could well fall below the 10/1 threshold before the off.
Nevertheless he was well beaten on his first foray up in trip, and despite the fact we don’t want a previous distance winner, a further step up doesn’t look ideal.
Warrantor is clearly highly thought of by trainer Warren Greatrex, and for good reason. The six-year-old is progressing very nicely, and handled a first time step up to 2m3f with aplomb last time out.
There could be more to come from the son of Turtle Island, but he need to show it to come out on top at Kempton.
Instead, the one we are plumping for is HELLO GEORGE.
Philip Hobbs’ charge was sixth in the Ladbroke Hurdle last time out, off the same handicap mark, and looks likely to go close upped in trip.
He was 5l behind the useful Jollyallan at Exeter back in November, and the winner has since franked that form very well, winning his next two at a higher level.
The Hobbs yard might not be flying as high as they were at the start of the season, but they are more than holding their own a week into the New Year, and have just the improver to back a first big handicap prize of 2015.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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