Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle Betting Tips
The Stayers’ Hurdle often goes under the radar a little. Other handicaps are arguably bigger, while this one also takes place on the Betfair Chase card, the feature race being where most media attention will be heading.
This event however is an ultra-competitive, £125,000 premier handicap hurdle and it’s a great one to get involved in.
14 are entered this time, tasked with taking on ever softening ground over three miles, half a furlong and twelve hurdles of Haydock Park. These are the six we like best of all in the prelude to the Grade 1 highlight:
Four of our shortlisted six horses have been off the track for more than 200 days, Brinkley being one of them.
David Pipe’s seven-year-old grey is now running off a mark (138) some 10lbs lower than his highest over hurdles, achieved as recently as last February.
Crucially, he got that rating for winning on heavy ground and while he hasn’t reached the same level since, he is rested now and gets his ground so could be considered well handicapped at least.
We all know Paul Nicholls is having a magnificent season so far, but as ever we judge each of his big race entries on their own merits.
Having done that with six-year-old Complete Unknown, we reckon he has a fantastic chance of landing the £71,000 first prize as long as the gelding can now handle the three-mile trip.
Only six races into his hurdling career, his debut came just a year ago. He was placed on his first four starts as he learned his trade before winning on soft ground at Sandown in Grade 3 company.
That was a cracking performance and he’s clearly getting better and better, his defeat when favourite at Perth being excused. He was perhaps over the top that day and was up against a well handicapped Mahler Mission, so we reckon he can continue his overall career progression now with his yard in such rare form.
Get A Tonic
Dan Skelton’s runner is another who was last seen in April, in this case winning at Ayr in a mares’ hurdle.
Her form there and behind Marie’s Rock in February reads well and she is improving. Enthusiasm is tempered just a little by the amount of rain falling, otherwise she’s quite solid.
Good Risk It All
Given the weather, the Class 2 handicap hurdle over 2½ miles at Carlisle at the end of last month is now providing us with a very key piece of form.
That event was run on heavy ground and at a track that is tough enough to get at the best of times. In the race, we saw a nice return to form from Wholestone at 16/1 (see below) who finished second, but he was seen off by Good Risk It All.
Sam Thomas’s runner travelled really well that day and stayed on very nicely. This trip should be ideal now and the 6lb rise he has taken in the weights most likely underestimates him.
There’s been some strong money this week for Might I after 200+ days off, but we’ve seen that so many times in recent weeks in big betting races to the point we’re getting suspicious about it. In any event, Harry Fry’s six-year-old gelding gets in here on merit.
This will only be his fifth hurdle race, the others all being impressive at a glance. He won easily on bad ground on debut, was behind Constitution Hill and Jonbon afterwards, and finished off the season with a second in Grade 1 company at Aintree.
He is talented, but he’s also been handicapped with those performances in mind so may take a run or two to overtake the assessors.
As we mentioned, old-timer Wholestone was second in that Carlisle race and it entitles him to go well here.
On the numbers he’s not as good as he was, but he’s in form, will handle the conditions and won’t be giving up late on despite being about to turn 12 years old.
David Pipe’s Brinkley could come right back to form, while of the two from Carlisle Good Risk It All is more tempting despite Wholestone’s big price.
With Paul Nicholls in such fantastic form though, we can rely on COMPLETE UNKNOWN to run his race and his profile suggests he can be near enough the best horse in the race. If so, then off 135 he is very well handicapped and so has to be backed despite being weak in the market going into the weekend.