Greatwood Handicap Hurdle Tips & Betting Preview

The last ten years of this classy and well known handicap have seen just the one winning favourite (back in 2007|) and winners at odds up to 14/1, though to be fair Meganisi in 2013 was the only double figure winner in the last decade. With ten different trainers and ten different jockeys over the last decade we have nothing to learn from there though there is still a highly competitive field to work with in this race preview.

Chesterfield (8/1 Each Way) has to be seen as very interesting and may now be cherry ripe after two runs back following a long absence between December 2014 and December last year when he moved to Seamus Mullins from John Ferguson who gave up training to take over at Godolphin. He had won two in a row at Huntingdon and Cheltenham before falling at Kempton prior to his lay off and returned with a fifteen length plus eighth to Brain Power at Ascot. Well beaten again since, this time behind Modus, he has been put down another two pounds this afternoon and could possibly threaten the places at a massive price and with his trainer as shrewd as any he has each way value written all over him at these prices, assuming the likely favourite will improve considerably for the race as expected.

Top of the early betting is the long absent Bloody Mary (7/2), the J P McManus owned and Nicky Henderson trained grey who is a class act at her best, but who hasn’t been seen in action since the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at last season’s Cheltenham Festival. Only beaten seven lengths in third behind Limini and Dusky Legend she ran her best race yet that day even after five bumper wins in France and two over hurdles (one at Auteuil and the other at Taunton). Clearly a very classy mare it seems safe to assume she has had her issues to be absent for so long but she could yet make up in to a Grade One contender though it is interesting to note she only has handicap entries at this season’s Festival and nothing at a higher level. Weight could well be a great leveller after her break though a rating of 133 does not seem harsh, and her run will be eagerly anticipated ahead of future engagements, with a market watch very much recommended.

London Prize (9/2) comes next in the betting for trainer Ian Williams and looks attractive enough further down the weights and has already had a productive season. Four races so far have seen a win plus two places and a solitary fall when looking the likeliest winner at Musselburgh, with a second at Newcastle last time out on the flat. He clearly has plenty of ability and is improving but only gets five pounds from Bloody Mary, for example, and looks to have a lot to find to be competitive against that sort of rival for a stable who are struggling for winners with none in twelve in the last two weeks.

Alan King is a trainer in decent form with a 17% strike rate at present and winners week in week out all season. At his best, Montbazon (14/1) would be of huge interest here but unfortunately he hasn’t reproduced that in a long time now and arrives her at the age of ten with plenty to prove. At his peak he finished third to Lac Fontan at Cheltenham in the Vincent O’Brien Country Hurdle in 2014 which saw his rating raised to a career high of 148 though he hasn’t been the same horse since a long lay-off from July 2014 to February 2016, presumably due to injury. Last time out he was pulled up when tried over two miles five at Kempton and failing to get home and he finished a long way behind Thunder Sheikh in third the race before that, but off a rating of 135 again today he could be the surprise package if his astute trainer can find a way to get him back to his old form of yesteryear.

Sometimes the betting public get attached to a horse and for some that beast is Melodic Rendezvous (9/1), a well-travelled eleven-year-old who has been to the races twenty-nines times in total, winning eight of them and over a quarter of a million pounds in prize money. He clearly won’t be getting any better at his age but was a solid fourth to Champion Hurdle hope Yanworth at Wincanton in the Kingwell Hurdle last time out and runs this afternoon off a rating of 138, a full twenty-five pounds lower than his career high achieved in 2014 when winning that very race. Asking him to repeat that now seems ridiculous but he rarely runs a bad race and a place at a big price  is very much a possibility even if the Jeremy Scott yard are struggling with no winners from nine runners in the last two weeks.

Trainer Tom George continues in good form with four wins from his last seventeen runners for a 24% success rate and he has the interesting Sumkindofking (8/1) entered here looking to do better than his last effort when a thirty-seven length fifth to Coo Star Sivola at Cheltenham. He stepped up in trip that day over two and a half miles plus before weakening before the final hurdle but may be better judged on his Southwell maiden hurdle win in November on his first run over hurdles. Seventh to Pingshou next time out he has been allotted a rating of 130 here which seems high enough, but unlike some at least he has plenty of room to improve after just the three runs over hurdles.


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