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Epatante is back to defend her Fighting Fifth Hurdle title at Newcastle on Saturday, November 27 at 3.15pm.
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The 2020 Champion Hurdle queen faces five fab foes on her first appearance of the season including Paul Nicholls’ rising star Monmiral and recent Elite Hurdle winner Sceau Royal – you’ve come to the right place to swot up on the runners and riders.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Sean Bowen Age: 4 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Unbeaten (in 5 starts) 4yo who powered away in taking fashion to land the Anniversary Hurdle at Aintree 7 months ago. Form has been boosted since and there’s more to come, so big claims.
Not So Sleepy
Trainer: Hughie Morrison Jockey: Jonathan Burke Age: 9 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Front-runner who has won back-to-back renewals of the Betfair Exchange Trophy (Handicap) at Ascot. Signed off last season still in form, but will need to up his game if he’s to compete at this level.
Trainer: Alan King Jockey: Daryl Jacob Age: 9 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Very smart hurdler/chaser who has hit the ground running over the smaller obstacles this term, having a bit to spare in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton last time. Has a fitness edge on his main rivals.
Trainer: Evan Williams Jockey: Adam Wedge Age: 8 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Smart hurdler who made all in Christmas Hurdle last season and, despite a couple of poor efforts at the top festivals since, he was back on track when second to Sceau Royal at Kempton on return.
Voix Du Reve
Trainer: Iain Jardine Jockey: Conor O’Farrell Age: 9 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Smart chaser at his best but his last couple of runs have been sub-par and he looks well out of his depth back over hurdles.
Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Aidan Coleman Age: 7 Weight: 11st 0lbs
Three-time Grade 1 winner, including this event (last year) and the Champion Hurdle. Good third to Honeysuckle at Punchestown on final outing last season, and she’ll be primed for a big run on return.
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Timeform Verdict: MONMIRAL has yet to taste defeat and, given the authority in which he scored at Aintree on his final outing of last season, there could be more ability to unlock, so it’s worth taking a chance on him to improve past the more experienced Epatante and Sceau Royal, who will force the selection to pull out all the stops.
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