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The From The Horse’s Mouth team took a close look at the Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle and top trader Frank Hickey is siding with Philip Hobbs’ Sporting John.
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“Firstly, there are question marks about everything at the head of the market. Flooring Porter probably benefited from no crowds last year. Will the crowd impact him this time round? He’s a bit of a thinker. Thyme Hill was poor in France and beaten fair and square by Champ in the Long Walk Hurdle.
“Champ is a 10-year-old and I was very disappointed that he couldn’t win the Cleeve Hurdle. Klassical Dream has the strongest form but the way he cut out at Gowran is a huge worry and does he need big gaps between his races? Were he to produce his best form, I’d be confident that he would win and win well. Paisley Park is also 10 years old. It was a massive win in the Cleeve but I would use that as a negative for Champ than to claim that Paisley Park is back.
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“Sporting John is still only a seven-year-old and was good enough to beat Shan Blue last season in a Grade 1 over fences as a novice. He’s only had 11 starts under rules and is 5-7 over hurdles. He’s unexposed and is improving but the negative would be that he is inconsistent.
“His two defeats were in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle that Envoi Allen won and when fourth in a handicap at Cheltenham in December off a rating of 151. I don’t think the race was run strongly enough for him and he wasn’t able to keep up when it developed into a sprint finish. Either side of that, he has won really nicely at Cheltenham off 146 and at Warwick off 151.
“He’s now rated 156 and there’s every chance he can rate higher. He also has the option of the Pertemps Final but he would likely have top weight there. He is a great price and with Paddy now Non Runner Money Back on All Races, that would appeal to me.”
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CHELTENHAM ANTEPOST TIPS
- Cheltenham Tips: Your ultimate antepost betting guide to the 2022 Festival
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- Gallop over to Paddy Power News for all the latest racing tips
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- Cheltenham Festival: Paddy goes Non Runner Money Back on all races
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