The rearranged Betfair Hurdle is on this Sunday at Newbury with Metier, who had been prominent in the betting, now a non runner. However, it still looks like it’s going to be one of the best handicap hurdles of the season with so many likely improvers due to line up.
Here’s 5 to keep onside.
Cadzand has jumped to the head of the ante-post betting after Metier’s defection. Dan Skelton’s yard is flying and it’s not hard to see why this six-year-old is so popular in the betting. Cadzand won a novice event at Warwick before winning at Kempton over the festive period on his handicap debut and the form has worked out since with the second (Christopher Wood) winning the Scottish County Hurdle at Musselburgh. He has clearly benefitted from a breathing operation and a bold bid is expected.
Jonjo O’Neill won this with Get Me Out of Here in 2010 and has another likely type with Supreme Novice Hurdle entry Soaring Glory. Soaring Glory is dipping his toes into handicap company for the first time, but he has been taking on some of the best novices around. On his hurdle debut he beat Bravemansgame, who is very highly rated by the Nicholls camp. He has lost his way somewhat, a fall at Wetherby probably cost him that race, but he is very intriguing in this company and warrants respect.
The each-way gamble over the last few days has been on Edwardstone. Alan King’s seven-year-old has looked a tricky ride at times, he unseated on his chasing debut two races back before landing a handicap hurdle at Market Rasen. Edwardstone was sixth in last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle behind Shiskin and fifth in the Greatwood Hurdle last November behind The Shunter back at Cheltenham, so he is clearly talented. But the last seven-year-old to win this race was Spirit Leader back in 2003.
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Nicky Henderson has won this race five times, and he could have another winner in the shape of Buzz. This lightly-raced seven-year-old will be saddled with top weight. But Buzz almost carried top weight to victory in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot last time out. He had to travel wide throughout and stayed on nicely for second, a smoother passage could really benefit Buzz here. With conditional Kevin Brogan booked to take 5lb off his back, Buzz makes appeal with the extra places on offer.
Another Nicky Henderson runner, Mister Coffey, is one of the many unexposed runners taking their chance. A winner at Sandown back in November, Mister Coffey has the services of Nico de Boinville and fits the profile of many recent winners of this race with five and six-year-olds dominating.
Trainer Gary Moore has a good record in the Betfair Hurdle after winning it three times in recent years. Fifty Ball, running in the familiar Goshen silks, has looked very progressive since going handicapping. Victories at Ascot and Sandown suggest there is plenty more to come and he looks dangerous down at the foot of the weights.
Selection: Guard Your Dreams
Of the current trainers, Nigel Twiston-Davies has the best recent record. He has won three of the last seven renewals and it looks like he’s found another good candidate in Guard Your Dreams who has the perfect recent profile for winning this race. He showed tremendous courage when winning at Sandown last time out, getting the better of Friend Or Foe, who could reoppose. They pulled miles clear of the rest, and with the generous place terms on offer, Guard Your Dreams makes plenty of each-way appeal off a low weight.
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