Form of Henderson big-hitters a worry for Fighting Fifth favourite

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One of the biggest lessons that punters should have learnt from the relatively short National Hunt season so far is that backing the star attractions from Nicky Henderson’s yard to win on their first seasonal starts is a quick way to empty the bank account.

No fewer than four of Henderson’s charges with serious aspirations for a Cheltenham Festival victory have already been beaten at odds-on – Long Run in the Charlie Hall Chase, Grandouet and Oscar Whisky on their respective novice chase debuts and highly-touted novice hurdler West Wizard at 1/6.

Add Bobs Worth’s below-par Betfair Chase effort and Hadrian’s Approach’s nose defeat at Kempton and it is clear to see that the yard is far from firing on all cylinders before the turn of the year.

Therefore, it would take a brave man or woman to pile into the 8/11 currently offered on My Tent Or Yours winning the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on his seasonal reappearance.

Official ratings suggest he has 5lb on the field and the decision of Tony McCoy to head to Newcastle instead of riding another of last season’s top novices At Fishers Cross at Newbury, indicate that he has plenty in his favour.

Furthermore, in the last decade, there have been five instances where at least one horse that ran in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the previous Cheltenham took part in the Fighting Fifth, and the highest-placed Festival finisher took this on three occasions.

But, given the struggles of the Henderson team, Melodic Rendezvous looks the one to back at the prices at 2/1.

Summer rust has already been shaken off through Melodic Rendezvous’ victory at Wincanton when conceding weight and beating Paul Nicholls’ Far West and further improvement is expected.

The favourite has additionally been beaten in each of the last four renewals of the Fighting Fifth, including three sent off at odds-on and this must be another negative against My Tent Or Yours.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.