David Pipe may have won three of the last five runnings of Haydock’s Fixed Brush Hurdle but if the trends are to believed, he will be waiting at least another 12 months before he adds to those successes.
The Nicholashayne trainer could send out Low Key, who was disappointing when well fancied for the Cesarewitch on the flat last month and Batavir, last seen when half-way down the field at Cheltenham.
But with six trends making a pretty clear profile for winners, we can narrow the current entries down to three, and neither of Pipe’s charges feature.
Here are the sextet of things we need to know when looking for the winner of the Grade 3 and the trio of potential runners that tick every box:
- – Every winner has been rated 132 or higher
- – 10 of the 10 victors had already won over at least 2m4f
- – Five and six-year-olds have won seven of the 10 renewals from just 33 per cent of the runners
- – No winner had won more than two handicap hurdles
- – Nine of the 10 horses to take the race had already triumphed in a race with 13 or more runners
- – The last six winners had run no more than seven times over hurdles
Tea For Two – 6/1
The improvement shown by Nick William’s charge during his partnership with Lizzie Kelly last term saw the six-year-old take in some very good races.
In truth, this is probably more his level than the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle that he contested at the Cheltenham Festival, and with a run under his belt this term, could get back on track at Haydock.
The manner in which the gelding took apart the field to win by 16 lengths in the Lanzarote Hurdle in January over a trip not much shorter than the one he will face on Saturday suggests that this 7lb higher mark should be no problem.
The testing ground will fine, and it’s no surprise to see this one near the top of the market, especially with connections taking the contest 12 months ago.
Broxbourne – 9/1
Nicky Henderson’s mare lowered the colours of the well-regarded Our Kaempfer at Aintree at the start of the month, and with just a 5lb rise in the weights could be well handicapped.
Formally a decent flat campaigner for Mark Johnston, the daughter of Refuse To Bend has been largely consistent since being sent over hurdles, finishing in the first three in five of her six starts.
She performed well against her own sex at Cheltenham in April, finishing second in a Listed contest, just ahead of recent Wetherby scorer Blue Buttons.
A step forward will be needed on her first foray into Graded company, but she meets the trends and could yet eke out more.
Laurium – 14/1
This will be a series of firsts for one of Nicky Henderson’s other entries.
Making his handicap debut over a distance he has yet to try on ground he hasn’t experienced before may not sound like the most convincing case for the five-year-old, but he could yet surprise.
Even though his conqueror last month Penglai Pavilion has since disappointed, the form of that race at Cheltenham looks solid enough.
A glance through his form throughout 2015 shows that he has had a handful of subsequent winners well behind him on his runs, but whether that means he will be up to this Grade 3 level looks questionable.
Nevertheless he has all the criteria of previous winners of this race, so cannot be discounted out of hand.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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