*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
Cormier is among the maximum field of 16 set to go to post for the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso as last year’s winner bids for a repeat success.
There is an added incentive for the Morebattle Hurdle runners and riders as Kelso offers a £100,000 bonus if the winner can go on to score at the Cheltenham Festival – a feat last achieved by Emmet Mullins’ The Shunter in 2021.
Mullins saddles one of the leading fancies for Saturday’s 13:50 in the form of Mctigue, who landed a Grade 2 at Auteuil in October and has been given an opening handicap mark of 136. French Listed winner L’Eau Du Sud, Betfair Hurdle third Teddy Blue and top weight Colonel Mustard are also prominent in Paddy Power’s betting.
Morebattle Hurdle odds can be found on the Paddy Power website, Paddy Power app or via our snazzy betting widgets, otherwise Timeform’s horse-by-horse guide to the runners and betting tips from the racing boffins are below.
Morebattle Hurdle tips
Timeform: A cracking renewal. Emmet Mullins sent out subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner The Shunter to take this in 2021 and has a very interesting contender in the shape of MCTIGUE, who ended 2022 with a couple of underwhelming efforts in good company but is well handicapped if he can get back to the level he attained when scoring in Grade 2 company in France in the autumn. Deere Mark has more to give and is feared most ahead of L’Eau du Sud, Teddy Blue and Benson.
Morebattle Hurdle runners
Trainer: Mrs Lorna Fowler Jockey: Kieren Buckley Age: 8 Weight: 12st 0lbs
Developed into a very useful hurdler last term, including third in the County at the Cheltenham Festival. Far form disgraced when reaching the frame in a pair of 2m maiden chases before Christmas but he will need a career best to defy clear top weight back hurdling.
Trainer: Alan King Jockey: A. P. Heskin Age: 6 Weight: 11st 8lbs
Well-served by strongly-run race when landing valuable Betfair Exchange handicap at Ascot (2m) last winter. As good as ever on the Flat in 2022 (won at Goodwood in October) but below par in 2 hurdles this year. Being dropped another 4 lb can only help but others are still preferred.
Trainer: Brian Ellison Jockey: Sean Quinlan Age: 7 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Tough, dependable sort who won this race last year. Looked set for third when unseating at the last in Grade 2 novice chase at Doncaster last time. Only 2 lb above last year’s successful mark and ought to be competiitve in defence of his crown.
Trainer: Donald McCain Jockey: Peter Kavanagh Age: 9 Weight: 11st 6lbs
Has returned better than ever from a long lay-off, scoring readily at Bangor before bagging a nice prize at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day, with Collingham 2 lengths back in second. Not in the same form when behind only fifth to his reopposing stablemate back there 4 weeks ago.
Trainer: Sandy Thomson Jockey: Ryan Mania Age: 8 Weight: 11st 5lbs
Good start for this yard, runner-up 3 times prior to deservedly getting his head back in front at Musselburgh (2½m) on New Year’s Day. The placed horses in that race have performed well since and he should be very competitive off 5 lb higher.
Trainer: Tom Lacey Jockey: Sean Bowen Age: 7 Weight: 11st 4lbs
Useful bumper winner and of a similar standard over hurdles last season. Disappointing on the Flat for Philip Hobbs when last seen in the autumn but he retains potential as a hurdler now setting out for new trainer Tom Lacey. Very interesting to see how he goes in the betting.
Trainer: Emmet Mullins Jockey: Donagh Meyler Age: 4 Weight: 11st 3lbs
Useful on the Flat for Jim Bolger and very good start over hurdles in the autumn, including a Grade 2 success at Auteuil. Some way below that level in 2 outings at the end of 2022 but every chance he’ll revive after a break for a much-feared Irish yard which won this race in 2021.
L’eau Du Sud
Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Harry Skelton Age: 5 Weight: 11st 2lbs
Useful hurdler in France last season. Tongue tie refitted, shaped well at the second time of asking for new connections when third of 14 at Kempton over Christmas. Interesting runner for a top stable with a good record in the leading 2m handicap hurdles.
Trainer: P. J. McKenna Jockey: L. A. McKenna Age: 8 Weight: 11st 1lbs
Not long with this yard, running very well for second of 18 in Naas handicap 6 days ago. Looks to have a bit on his plate from his British mark, though.
Trainer: Gary Moore Jockey: Caoilin Quinn Age: 5 Weight: 11st 1lbs
Free-goer who landed short odds in 2m Lingfield maiden before running well for 12 lengths third of 16 in Betfair Hurdle at Newbury 3 weeks ago. Runs off 3 lb lower this time and ought to be in the shake-up.
Trainer: Michael Scudamore Jockey: Richard Patrick Age: 8 Weight: 10st 12lbs
Dual novice hurdle winner last season and got off the mark in handicaps at the second attempt with a taking success at Wetherby (2m again) on his reappearance. Raced too keenly when disappointing behind Collingham at Musselburgh. A tongue strap is reached for on the back of that.
Trainer: Donald McCain Jockey: Charlie Maggs Age: 5 Weight: 10st 10lbs
Durable sort who has had a good season, bagging a nice prize at Musselburgh (2m, good) 3 weeks ago under promising 10 lb claimer Charlie Maggs. Every chance he’ll give his running but will need another career best to defy his revised mark.
Trainer: Sam Thomas Jockey: Adam Wedge Age: 6 Weight: 10st 10lbs
Going the right way over hurdles, making a successful start to his handicap career at Kempton (2m) 7 weeks ago. Raised 6 lb but he had something to spare and is likely capable of better again.
Clear White Light
Trainer: Adrian Keatley Jockey: J. Hogan Age: 7 Weight: 10st 8lbs
Hexham winner for Sandy Forster last spring and has continued to go the right way for this yard, winning handicaps around 2½m at Doncaster and Newcastle in recent months. In deeper now but he’s thriving. Has blinkers added dropping back in trip.
Trainer: Milton Harris Jockey: Mitchell Bastyan Age: 6 Weight: 10st 8lbs
Point winner who has progressed nicely over hurdles, winning 2m handicaps at Plumpton and Catterick in January and losing out only narrowly on hat-trick bid back at Catterick 19 days ago. Nudged up another 4 lb, though.
Trainer: Lucinda Russell Jockey: Derek Fox Age: 10 Weight: 10st 7lbs
Well supported and back to his best when gaining his first success for current connections over C&D in January. Only a respectable third of 5 back here since, though. Others are much more obvious.
Saturday’s Racing Tips
- Matt Chapman’s best bets for ITV Racing
- Mick Fitzgerald’s fine fancies for Kelso, Doncaster & Newbury
- Frank Hickey’s slick picks for ITV Racing
- Ruby Walsh’s tips for Kelso, Doncaster & Newbury
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