This race, understandably so, is often considered to be an early Champion Hurdle trial but given how far down the weights our ultimate selection is we reckon we won’t be seeing March’s winner in this line-up.
That said, the Greatwood Hurdle is a fantastic betting race in its own right and especially this year as they look set to go at least 5/1 the field. Here’s our shortlist of six who all appear to have what it takes to go close:
The top weight, officially rated 154, is not out of this race especially considering how well Nigel Twiston-Davies’ team is going at present.
Carrying 11-12 here having won three hurdle races out of 16 isn’t ideal though, and while he looked good when running second in the Welsh Champion Hurdle recently Ballyandy may just have a little too much on his plate in this event.
Well fancied for Alan King, Edwardstone is only four runs into his hurdling career and so one would expect that there is plenty more to come from him when the question is asked.
The major question from a punting point of view though is whether or not the Kayf Tara gelding wants softer ground, having done so well on it when second in a Grade 2 at Haydock.
True, his win over Harry Senior came on better going but it was also at Aintree and so doubts remain as to whether he’ll be at his best on this type of track.
Off a low enough weight and with progression likely coming, Milkwood makes the list but although he’s not overdone the mileage over hurdles, he has had enough chances overall in the National Hunt sphere for us to judge his ability.
His three wins have come in a Fontwell bumper and in low grade hurdle races at Hereford and Ffos Las, while he is 0-2 in handicaps thus far.
Once rated 105 on the flat for Tom Dascombe, Proschema clearly has lots of talent and he exhibited that this time last year when he trounced his field in a hurdle event at Wetherby.
He went to the same track last month to restart his career after nearly a year off and while a beaten favourite that day, the run was of a sufficient level to show that he retains all of his ability and will have been trained to reach a new career peak now over jumps.
With that in mind, and having already demonstrated the all-important speed needed between flights here, Dan Skelton’s gelding ranks very highly and is one that should be running to a very high level later in the season. He seems well handicapped for this.
Tom Lacey’s six-year-old has probably been somewhat underestimated in the betting, with prices of around 12/1 available at the time of writing for a horse that has just about everything needed to run a big one.
2 from 5 over hurdles and 3 from 6 overall, Sebastopol is heading the right way for sure and landed the Scottish County Hurdle last time out from Ashington, form that entitles him to a place on this list at the very least.
He has gone up 6lbs for that run, but there’s more to come from him and we should see a bold show from him under jockey Jonathan Burke.
Jonjo O’Neill’s runner comes into this as an easy course and distance winner, with his regular jockey maintaining his 7lb claim.
The ground should be fine for him and naturally the track holds no fears, but going up 8lbs in the weights and then moving into harsh Grade 3 company often means taking a leap too far and that might just be the case for him. He does remain of interest though.
An interesting event but what which should probably be judged as a decent handicap rather than a bona fide Champion Hurdle trial.
On the numbers, both Tegerek and Sebastopol make the grade in terms of looking like fair each-way plays but the nagging doubts about them strengthen confidence in the final selection.
There is a lot of like about PROSCHEMA, one who looks pretty likely to run a hurdling career best now that he is 100% fit. If he does, and having proven his speed between flights, he looks a fair bet to land this race before perhaps going into graded company on level weights.