Welsh Champion Hurdle
Taking place this Saturday the Welsh Champion Hurdle, revived in 2010 as a limited handicap ran over two miles in Ffos Las racecourse, is one of our first chances this season to see some high-class horses.
The New One, a Neptune winner and placed in a champion Hurdle, alongside Sire De Grugy a Queen Mother Champion Chase winner are the two big hitters in the field. Although possibly past their best it is still a treat for horse racing fans to see these two brilliant animals battle it out. With seventeen horses entered at the time of writing, it’s difficult to know who will line up.
The ground will be key to field size but the forecasted ground is said to have soft in it. This will be important for the race so it doesn’t cut up too badly.
The New One will be the most obvious choice due to his hurdling career thus far, boasting some fine performances along the way. However, at eleven years of age and carrying top weight, this race could prove one too far for the veteran. Amateur Zac Baker will help the weight burden taking 5lb off but this also means that regular jockey Sam Twiston Davies will not be on board and this is a big negative. Also factoring in that three miles could be where this veteran is destined for this season, Saturdays race might find him coming up short.
Sire De Grugy is the other big name in the field although it’s quite the surprise to see him revert to hurdles, especially at eleven years of age. He only carries 10st 11lbs which is a big help to his hopes. Trainer Gary Moore is a very shrewd operator so it would make you think twice when you see him entering his stable star here, however if he was lighting the gallops up at home you would think connections would prefer him going over the larger obstacles. At eleven years of age and not having run over hurdles for more than five years it might be a bridge too far for the former Cheltenham Festival winner.
With the two main protagonists up against it that brings us to the younger more unexposed horses. Chesterfield is an interesting one, carrying a nice weight and could run a big race. Don Bersy and Persistent are the two young horses in the field with lots of potential and carrying low weights but at only four years of age they might lack the experience for this event.
That leads us to Clyne, the seven-year-old had a very good season last time round with form figures of 1,1,2,3 making him a very interesting improver. Two wins followed by a one length defeat to The New One and a good third in the ultra-competitive Betfair Hurdle completed an eye-catching campaign. Still open to improvement and having won over course and distance already this soft ground specialist could have ideal conditions on Saturday, carrying 10st 11lbs he rates as a confident selection for the race.
Currently priced at 2/1 with ComeOn! he will hopefully land the spoils and show more of the talent we seen last season.
TOP TIP: Ffos Las Saturday 21st
16:25 CLYNE 2/1