Nemean Lion heads the weights for the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday as the Welsh Champion Hurdle winner seeks a second big pot of the campaign.
Paddy Power’s market principal lurks at the opposite end of the handicap, however, as Onlyamatteroftime makes his stable debut for Willie Mullins carrying just 10st3lbs.
Gin Coco is just 2lbs higher in the weights than last year when finishing second, while Lookaway is the only C&D winner in the field after landing the season’s Sharp Novices’ Hurdle last month.
The latest Greatwood Handicap Hurdle odds are on the Paddy Power website and Paddy Power app, otherwise Timeform’s guide to the runners as well as betting tips from the racing boffins can be found below.
Greatwood Handicap Hurdle verdict
Timeform: A really good renewal. NEMEAN LION marked himself down as a leading contender for this when seeing off Anyharminasking (pair clear) in the Welsh Champion and can make light of a 5 lb rise with further progress on the cards. Dan Skelton is always to be feared in these races and his L’Eau du Sud and Knickerbockerglory head the many dangers along with Sonigino, who shaped well in the Silver Trophy on his return. Onlyamatteroftime is another fascinating runner having joined Willie Mullins.
*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
Greatwood Handicap Hurdle runners and riders
The following horses have been declared for the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle 2023.
Trainer: Kerry Lee Jockey: Richard Patrick Age: 6 Weight: 12st 0lbs
Useful stayer on Flat in France for Andre Fabre in 2020 and took particularly well to hurdling last term, culminating in a Kelso Grade 2 win in March. Took it up another notch when readily seeing off Anyharminasking in Welsh Champion on reappearance and likely has even more to offer.
Trainer: James Owen Jockey: Lilly Pinchin Age: 5 Weight: 12st 0lbs
Firmly on the right track for his current yard, winning 3 2m handicap hurdles during the summer and improving again when second in 2m Kempton listed race 4 weeks ago.
Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill Jockey: Jonjo O’Neill Jr. Age: 6 Weight: 11st 11lbs
Has a largely progressive profile and returned with a very good 1½ lengths second of 10 to Nemean Lion in Welsh Champion at Ffos Las 5 weeks ago. Likely to go well again.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Freddie Gingell Age: 6 Weight: 11st 11lbs
Progressive type last season, winning 3 times before signing off the campaign with an excellent third at Aintree Went like the best horse at the weights when third in Chepstow Silver Trophy on reappearance and he remains one to be positive about.
Trainer: Fergal O’Brien Jockey: Paddy Brennan Age: 6 Weight: 11st 11lbs
Most progressive since joining this yard and equipped with a tongue tie, rounding off last season with a win in a 2m handicap at the Aintree Grand National meeting. Warmed up for this with a Flat success at York last month. Another to consider
Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: James Bowen Age: 5 Weight: 11st 10lbs
2-2 in bumpers and rapidly developed into a useful hurdler. Good 3 lengths second to You Wear It Well in 2m Wetherby mares’ listed race on reappearance. Has first start in a handicap here.
Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Tristan Durrell Age: 7 Weight: 11st 9lbs
Returned to hurdles to finish second in the Imperial Cup at Sandown in March and bettered even that form when making a winning reappearance at Ascot under Tristan Durrell a fortnight ago. Respected under a 5 lb penalty for yard with a good record in this.
Trainer: Harry Fry Jockey: Jonathan Burke Age: 7 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Lightly-raced 7-y-o who was an excellent second in this 12 months ago. Might have just needed his reappearance run behind Nemean Lion and Anyharminasking in Welsh Champion and should be spot on now. Tongue tied first time.
Trainer: Neil King Jockey: Jack Quinlan Age: 6 Weight: 11st 6lbs
Dual bumper winner in 2022 (including Aintree Grade 2). It took a couple of starts for him to click over hurdles but he’s been most progressive this season, completing a hat-trick in C&D Grade 2 novice 23 days ago. Handicap debut.
Trainer: Stuart Edmunds Jockey: Ciaran Gethings Age: 9 Weight: 11st 4lbs
Ended last season with a small-field win at Fakenham. Returned to hurdles to land a Southwell handicap in September and even better form when second of 12 at Chepstow last month. This demands even more, though.
L’Eau Du Sud
Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Harry Skelton Age: 5 Weight: 11st 4lbs
Useful hurdler in France and made a positive start in handicaps for this yard last season, third at Kempton over Christmas then filling the same position in Morebattle at Kelso in March. One of 2 strong contenders for a stable which does so well in the top 2m handicap hurdles. Has had wind surgery.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Harry Cobden Age: 4 Weight: 11st 1lbs
Better than result in Fred Winter at the Festival and showed himself to be well handicapped later in the spring, comfortably seeing off 14 rivals at the Ayr Scottish National meeting in April. Did weaken quite tamely when only seventh on his C&D return last month but perhaps he needed the run.
Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Nico de Boinville Age: 5 Weight: 11st 0lbs
French bumper winner. Well beaten first 2 outings over hurdles but different proposition after wind surgery when getting up in the dying strides in 2m Stratford novice in April. Stepped up again when second of 15 on Sandown handicap debut 4 weeks later and returns as an unexposed from top stable.
Trainer: Olly Murphy Jockey: Sean Bowen Age: 7 Weight: 11st 0lbs
Lightly raced 7-y-o who was well served by a soundly-run race when taking small-field Wetherby handicap in March. Better than the bare result at Aintree on final outing and is still relatively unexposed. Had breathing op during break. Tongue strap on for first time.
Trainer: Thomas Mullins Jockey: Jack Foley Age: 6 Weight: 10st 11lbs
Won a pair of 2m handicaps last season. Should strip fitter for last month’s Galway reappearance but a number of these rivals look less exposed than him.
Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: D. E. Mullins Age: 7 Weight: 10st 3lbs
Bumper winner for Niall Madden and good third in maiden hurdle next time. Would have gone close in Cork handicap latest but for hanging left and running out approaching the last. Evidently has the odd quirk but he’s a very interesting contender at foot of weights having joined Willie Mullins.
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