Holloway’s Hurdle Tips & Betting Preview

Plenty of very serious contenders are entered for this handicap hurdle but it looks remarkably competitive in the circumstances, and the value could lay with the Philip Hobbs trained Wait For Me who could be at his peak after two runs so far this season but just the one after his summer break. Last time out he finished a respectable sixth at Kempton over two miles and he has been dropped a pound for that effort, but he looked a bit one paced that day when failing to quicken when asked, and could do even better upped to this trip. He is more than capable of winning races as he proved last season at Newbury and Kempton with novice victories, and off his current mark he may yet prove to be leniently treated here.

Naturally in a race of this value (£50,000 Guaranteed), Paul Nicholls may well have more than one runner with Adrien Du Pont the supposed second string. He is all set to carry top-weight here and needs to bounce back after unseating Sam Twiston-Davies two out at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. He was going well enough at the time to suggest he may well have got involved in the finish and seems unlikely to be bothered by the step up in trip here, and is six pounds better off with Gibralfaro on October form for half a length, suggesting he ought to be able to turn that form around.

Talking of Gibralfaro, the Alan King string are in fine form and he is also entered here as he looks for his first win of the season. He has placed in all three races so far this season with a second to Onefitzall at Newbury last time out, but he has a bit to find at these weights with Adrien Du Pont and on a line though Onefitzall, plenty to find with Mr Mix as well. On the plus side the King stable are in good heart with a 27% strike rate while jockey Wayne Hutchinson is on 26% but however you look at it, he still has his work cut out today.

Harry Fry is a trainer becoming harder to ignore year by year and he has Drumcliff entered here as the six-year-old son of leading sire Presenting looks to win his first ever race over hurdles. Last time out he finished second to Bigmartre at Kempton over two miles despite being badly hampered when trying to deliver his challenge and then running on strongly, suggesting the added distance here could yet play in to his hands. The fact that they persevere in handicaps when they could look for a maiden hurdle speaks volumes about his chances and he is one to consider as an each way alternative for the moment.

Lastly for now we can’t ignore the chances of Le Rocher who should be at his peak after two races following a long lay-off of close to three years. He won the Finesse Hurdle at Cheltenham in January 2014 but wasn’t seen again until a respectable fourth here at Ascot in November and then a solid second over this sort of trip at Haydock when no distances were returned due to poor visibility. Connections will be hoping he makes it third time lucky for the season here and there is little doubt he is potentially very well handicapped if only he can recapture his 2014 form.

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