The last decade has seen three winning favourites, one winning joint favourite and five scorers at starting prices varying from 16/1 to 33/1.
Current market leader Filey Bay is currently just 3/1 for victory so it has to be worth playing a bigger priced runner here. We’ve picked out three each-way selections worth a second look at a working man’s price.
Master Chewy @ 16/1
It’s hard to argue with the record of team Twiston-Davies in this contest, with trainer father Nigel saddling three winners and six placed horses from a total of 14 runners across the last 20 runnings.
Jockey son Sam has ridden in the race eight times during that timeframe with his three winners including Ballyandy and Al Dancer for the old man and his four placed runs including an agonising short head second on I Like To Move It in the 2022 edition.
Master Chewy is the yard’s sole runner among this year’s entries. He has yet to register a career win from four starts over hurdles, two bumpers and a point to point but the six-year-old is all the better handicapped for it.
He would have a 1 on his resume if not for falling at the last when three lengths up at Ascot in November and he’s finished twice finished a close second to upwardly mobile types since, in Nicky Henderson’s Attaca and Gary Moore’s Hansard.
Given his trainer and jockey’s excellent records in the race it would be little surprise if was to feel the benefit of the stiffer test he’ll likely get in this big-field handicap.
Onemorefortheroad @ 16/1
Last year seven-year-old Glory And Fortune became the oldest winner of this race since nine-year-old Geos in 2004, so there’s hope for Neil King’s eight-year-old Onemorefortheroad.
His form this season is nothing to rave about, especially when finishing eighth of nine, 13 lengths behind Monviel at Ascot last time out back in November.
However, his form in two-mile handicaps worth £28k or more in the 2021/22 season reads 1-2-4-3. The win in that sequence came in a listed limited handicap over the Betfair Hurdle course and distance off an official rating of 133.
He returns to action on a mark of 132 and if the return to form a trainer would like to see in handicap hurdle worth £87k materialises he’ll be difficult to keep out of the places.
First Street @ 12/1
Three-time Champion Hurdle winner Persian War is the only horse ever to have carried more than 11st8lbs to victory in this race, but Al Dancer and Glory and Fortune have both scored carrying 11st8lbs inside the last four runnings.
First Street may ultimately fall short of emulating the exploits of the first mentioned, or fellow Champion Hurdler Make A Stand, winner of the Betfair Hurdle in 1997.
However, Nicky Henderson evidently considers him to have the class to contest the Cheltenham day one showpiece and he could we be good enough to score off top weight here.
First Street finished a close second to State Man (currently 11/4 second favourite for this year’s Champion Hurdle) in the 2022 County Hurdle and is the sole runner in this Newbury affair with a Champion Hurdle entry.
He runs off an 11lb higher mark than when a close third in this race last year, but showed himself more than capable of carrying top weight to victory when landing a £28k-to-the-winner handicap hurdle over course and distance in November last year.