Friday, March 05, 2021

County form lines for Kelso's 2021 Morebattle Hurdle

Following a grim week for racing, Gordon Elliott attended an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board's referrals hearing today; the trainer has been banned for one year - the final six months suspended - after he was found guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute.

Several small fields tomorrow; in search of some value, I've decided to head north of the border and look at the Morebattle Hurdle (3.15 Kelso). 

The race is named after a village seven miles south of Kelso and, since 1984, has been run as a conditions event. Tomorrow's renewal will be the first in its newly revised guise as a Class 2 handicap - the result is a competitive field of 14 runners. 

The going described as good to soft.

A number of these did battle in the Scottish County Hurdle at Musselburgh last month and several also hold entries in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham; there's a £100,000 bonus if tomorrow's winner can go on to win any race at the Festival.

The last time we saw The Shunter this side of the Irish Sea he won one of the season's most competitive handicaps - the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham - fairly comfortably off a mark of 128. 

Starting seven pounds higher tomorrow, it's no surprise to see he's priced up favourite. Trainer Emmet Mullins has a fine record with his runners in Britain, Cape Gentleman winning the Dovecote at Kempton the most recent example.

The Skelton operation is going great guns at the moment (9 wins from 54 runs in the past fortnight) and Faivoir is given plenty of respect. This one surprised a few, myself included, when beating Minella Drama a neck in the Rossington Main at Haydock in January.

Hunters Call may be 11 years old but he brings decent form to the table including fourth behind The Shunter in the Greatwood  and, most recently, third behind Boreham Bill in the Lanzarote over the extended trip of two miles five at Kempton.

Night Edition was beaten a length by Aramax in the Boodles at the Festival last year but has been out of form in competitive handicaps this term. 

Tommy's Oscar has to enter calculations on the back of a respectable second to Bareback Jack (goes in Premier Novices' Hurdle at 1.30) last time out. 

Paul Nicholls saddles two with Solo well backed during the day. 

Conversely stablemate Christopher Wood has drifted in the betting. 

This one beat Voix Du Reve three and a quarter lengths in the Scottish County Hurdle at Musselburgh last month (Blakeney Point fifth, Newton Boy sixth, Locker Room Talk tenth). 

Previously Blakeney Point pipped Voix Du Reve a neck in the Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle at Musselburgh on New Year's Day. Donald McCain's charge isn't without talent but wouldn't be the most consistent of individuals; connections reach for the blinkers for the first time since September 2019 and, with Brian Hughes in the plate, 28/1 looks a big price.

Sky Bet pay five places this race and the 25/1 they offer about Voix Du Reve, part owned by golfer Lee Westwood, has just proved too tempting.  

His fourth in the Fighting Fifth 12 lengths behind Epatante isn't form to take at face value but Iain Jardine's charge has run well this season, although his hurdling hasn't always been as clean as you might have wished for. 

Still, with seven pound claimer Oakley Brown up, he looks weighted to come home ahead of recent conquerors Christopher Wood and Blakeney Point, and on Racing Post ratings the gelding, trained at Carrutherstown, Dumfries & Galloway, is bang there with every chance.

Voix Du Reve is the each-way suggestion.


Anonymous said...

bet365 Morebattle Hurdle

170,VOIX DU REVE(FR),11.8

Voix Du Reve is joint top rated by my system, every chance he’ll run his race, that Sky Bet [not the easiest to get on with] 5 place concession in a really competitive affair is huge and the system can certainly see the value in the Blog’s selection!

The system has Tommy’s Oscar as the most likely winner. It also thinks the drifting Christopher Wood ticks plenty of boxes and for my bet I’m nibbling away at 20+ in Betfair win market.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Good luck, TW!

Totally agree with the point you raise about Sky Bet - can feel like you're using a labyrinthine trading utility. It's about time they put some of the money I regularly give them to some proper use and commissioned a UX /UI design consultancy.

GeeDee said...

Coming to the final flight The Shunter (5/2f) edged ahead of Favoir (5/1) and then stayed on dourly up the hill to repel the late challenge of Night Edition (10/1) to collect the spoils by one and a quarter lengths.

The trio finished 11 lengths ahead of Solo (13/2) in fourth with Hunters Call (8/1) another five and a half lengths away in fifth.

From flagfall they took no prisoners up front.

Voix Du Reve (28/1) raced prominently with Christopher Wood in the first mile or so, throwing in a couple of those trademark hurdling errors. As the field went out into the country the selection started to go backwards and very quickly found himself at the rear of affairs. He plugged on to eventually come home tenth, just under 50 lengths behind the winner who now goes to Cheltenham holding a host of possible entries as connections attempt to land that £100,000 bonus.