An early season novices’ chase featuring one of this season’s most exciting prospects. Read on for expert analysis and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: YANWORTH will start at prohibitive odds but is impossible to oppose, last season’s Liverpool Hurdle winner is a stone clear on hurdles ratings and looks to have a very bright future over fences, Sternrubin is a clear second on ratings and will give Yanworth most to do.
1 BEHIND TIME – Won over hurdles off a mark of 115 at Cheltenham in November last year before failing to cope with a penalty next time out, has a large chunk to find on these terms even if improving for fences, his yard’s form is the only real positive.
2 MUFFINS FOR TEA – Colin Tizzard has a stable full of stars but this isn’t one of them, he was a moderate hurdler with a rating of 122 and a strike rate of one from ten, will need to improve massively for a fence to get involved.
3 NORPHIN – Rated just 38 on the flat and a lowly 72 over hurdles he has absolutely no chance on these terms and is over ninety pounds lower in the handicap than the top rated here, easily overlooked.
4 PHOBIAPHILIAC – Comfortably the third best of these over the smaller obstacles but form figures of 1P2PP show his general lack of consistency, even if at his very best today he’ll need to improve if he wants to trouble those the likes of Sternrubin and Yanworth.
5 STERNRUBIN – A very useful front runner who won a listed handicap hurdle at Ascot off a mark of 142 last season, if taking to fences he will likely serve it up to Yanworth from the front and put him under some pressure; also has benefit of match fitness having been kept busy on the flat.
6 YANWORTH – A hurdler of the highest class who was sent off favourite for this year’s Champion Hurdle. He disappointed there but signed off his season with the second Grade 1 victory of his career. He is a very exciting prospect over fences and already heads a couple of antepost markets at the Cheltenham Festival; will take all the beating with a safe round of jumping.