This race was introduced to the Festival back in 2005 and its been an extremely tough race to pick the winner from the start. The last four winners have been SP 40/1, 25/1, 33/1, 25/1.
Some people call it the poor version of the Triumph Hurdle and I share their opinion. Quite a large chunk of the field are entered in both races leaving trainers checking what weight they receive here before choosing where to send their horse.
I've gave my opinion on a few horses below but its not a race that I will be going mad on. Maybe just a few small each way bets for me.
Gordon Elliot says that this horse has been working really well at home and although he says that Campeador will have to improve an awful lot he sounds optimistic that it will. His only start for Gordon Elliot was in a Grade 2 juvenile hurdle where he pulled hard and finished 4th behind three very decent horses, two of those that finished ahead of him are set to run in the Triumph Hurdle and the other is entered in three graded races at the Festival. Campeador is in off 141 here and if Gordon Elliot can squeak any improvement at all out of him then he could be in for a big each way chance at the very least.
ROMAIN DE SENAM
Paul Nicholls' 4 year old has a mark of 136 and I really think that this horse could be better than that. He won on his first start for Paul Nicholls dotting up by 15 lengths. He then finished 3rd behind Wolf Of Windlesham in a Triumph Hurdle Trial. That form isn't great but Romain De Senam was very keen that day and still only lost by 4 lengths. He then experienced ground on the softer side than he would've liked on his next two starts, particularly at Sandown when the ground was heavy. He still pulled hard at Sandown but this is a race that Paul Nicholls has a good record in and if he can learn to settle then we might get a good run for our money at odds of 20/1! If the ground comes up soft then we can forget it but if its good ground then I'll be having a small wager each way.
Another Paul Nicholls horse that I like the look of is Frodon. He's also entered in the Triumph Hurdle on the final day and I'm struggling to back him there if I'm totally honest, I like the look of two in that race so I'm hoping Frodon turns up here. If he did run here then Paul Nicholls has already said that he'll be putting a claimer on to take off a few lb's. Harry Cobden could take the ride and that would be a huge bonus as his weight now is slightly putting me off. The last 7 winners of this race have all carried a weight of 11-2 or less so you can see why the 11-7 that Frodon is set to carry might send Paul Nicholls to the Triumph Hurdle. Frodon needed his run first time out at Cheltenham so it was no surprise to Paul Nicholls when he won at Haydock next time. The jockey that day was Sean Bowen and he was certain that this horse would improve for better ground which makes him very interesting if he showed up here.