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2018 Hyde Novices' Hurdle tips - Snowden's 11/2 chance can collect Grade Two gold at Cheltenham on Friday

Brian Healy 16 Nov 2018
Double Treasure can win Friday's Grade Two Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look at Friday's feature Grade Two contest, the Hyde Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The feature race of Friday’s opening day of the 2018 Cheltenham November meeting is the Grade Two Hyde Novices’ Hurdle, which is run under the Ballymore title, and this 2m 5f contest could provide an early pointer towards the race of the same name back here in March.

Getting underway at 3.35pm, the classy contest will form part of ITV Racing’s Friday coverage of the pick of the action at Prestbury Park, and since it was first run in 1996 the race has thrown up winners of the likes of On The Blind Side, Peregrine Rin, Parlour Games, Coneygree and Diamond Harry in recent seasons.

Nicky Henderson won this race twelve months ago with the impressive On The Blind Side, and the Seven Barrows maestro could saddle Pym (3/1, Coral) in the contest as he bids to double up.

The Stowaway gelding has had just two runs over hurdles, readily running out a two lengths winner over Deyrann De Carjac at Chepstow in October, and then chasing home Anemoi at Ascot earlier in the month where he was readily outpaced and hinted that a stiffer test might suit.

An Ayr bumper winner on his racecourse debut, he can find improvement stepping up in trip, and there may be better still to come from him.

Coolanly (5/1, Paddy Power) finished down the field in the Ballymore Hurdle during the Cheltenham Festival, crossing the line in 12th place, having earlier found only Vinndication too strong on his hurdling debut at Leicester last December.

The Flemensfirth gelding rounded off a light campaign with a solid fifth to Lalor in a Grade One at Aintree, but having been sent off favourite for the Persian War hurdle on his return from a break he got no further than the fourth when falling.

An improving sort, he could have more to offer; but this is effectively his first run of the season following his early misfortune in Wales, and he may just be found wanting at the business end of the race.

He’s not discounted though, and it would be no surprise to see a big effort; while Darlac (11/2, Ladbrokes) was an impressive winner on his hurdles debut at Fontwell last month, readily brushing aside High Command to score by a wide margin.

He made most of the running that day, and while this is a much tougher assignment facing Colin Tizzard’s charge, he has the scope for plenty of improvement despite his inexperience with this longer trip looking sure to suit.

He could well develop into a very useful sort; but he takes on some proven rivals here and he could be one for the future, although it is interesting that the Somerset handler plunges the five-year old in at this level on the back of his easy success last time.

Darlac was an impressive winner on his hurdling debut at Fontwell, but this is much tougher.

Double Treasure’s (11/2, Paddy Power) hat-trick attempt was thwarted when finding Secret Investor too strong in the Persian War Hurdle on his return from a four-month absence; but Jamie Snowden’s charge had earlier struck wins at Fontwell and Newton Abbot.

The King’s Theatre gelding won four times over fences last term, including here last October prior to finishing seventh in the BetVictor Gold Cup on this card behind Splash Of Ginge. He since underwent wind surgery prior to a return over fences hgere in April, after which he scored twice.

He can give a good account back up in trip, but he may just prefer less cut in the ground to be seen at his best.

Kapgarry (16/1, Ladbrokes), who found one too strong at Perth on his return over an inadequate trip back in September, but stepped up on that run to score readily at Wetherby last month, beating I Just Know by the better part of three lengths.

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Ballingarry gelding should improve for this longer trip given he was a winner between the flags previously at Kirkistown; and while he’ll need to find significant further improvement following that latest outing he can post a big run, although this is a big ask.

Nigel Twiston-Davies could saddle the improving Kapgarry in Friday's feature race at Cheltenham.

Nestor Park (20/1, William Hill) would be making his hurdles debut in a very strong contest, and Ben Pauling’s charge would surely be up against it if taking his chances in this race.

The Walk In The Park gelding was an Ascot bumper winner prior to being beaten behind Acey Milan at Newbury, and then Relegate in the ChampionBumper where he beat only a handful home; he would face a mammoth test if lining up here on his first try over timber.

Percy Veer (20/1, Paddy Power) meanwhile could join the Irish raiding party, although Emmet McNamara’s charge would have plenty to find on form having been turned over in a three-mile Listed race at Cork earlier in the month.

He had won a Listed race previously at Limerick in October, but this would be a much tougher test of his abilities, and he looked held when unseating his rider behind Dinons at Killarney in August; that rival has progressed significantly, and the Sir Percy gelding looks hard to fancy at this level, especially giving weight away to this field.

Similarly, Oliver Sherwood’s Captain Peacock (25/1, BetVictor) looked to have improved when making a winning return to action at Bangor in August, beating Mr Caffrey; the Champs Elysees gelding then struck again at that venue when successful over Sonic.

He went close to a hat-trick of wins when denied only by a short-head at Worcester in September, but he was disappointing when last seen back there last month where he could only finish eighth behind Montys Award.

This is a much tougher assignment for him to mount a bounce back to form, and he another who could struggle upped markedly in class.

Captain Peacock (left) has won twice twice over hurdles, but this is a much tougher test and he was disappointing last time.

Completing the potential field, Tricks And Trails (66/1, Coral) would be making his hurdles debut for Alan Jones, arriving out of the point-to-point sphere having finished runner-up at Ballinaboola back in February when last sighted.

The Flemensfirth gelding had finished third behind Kapgarry previously when the pair clashed at Tinahely, and he would be surely be flying far too high at this level on his debut; while his yard isn't noted for having first-time winners.


Original selection Dinons misses out, so DOUBLE TREASURE (11/2, Paddy Power) could be the one to benefit from the absence of Gordon Elliott’s up-and-coming novice.

Jamie Snowden’s charge was a prolific winner over fences during 2017, winning four times which included at this venue, although he could only finish seventh in the BetVictor Gold Cup last term. He disappointed back here following a five-month absence and wind surgery when beating only home back here in April.

He has won two of his three outings since reverting to hurdles, scoring with authority in minor company at Fontwell and Newton Abbot, and he found only Secret Investor too strong in the Persian War Hurdle when last seen.

The pair had pulled well clear, and he ought to be sharper now given that was his first run in almost four months; while the return to a longer trip is in his favour.

He can go well again back here where he has won before, and he can go close in an open renewal of this contest if avoiding an early battle for the lead with several other potential front-runners in opposition.

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2018 Hyde Novices' Hurdle tips - Snowden's 11/2 chance can collect Grade Two gold at Cheltenham on Friday

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look at Friday's feature Grade Two contest, the Hyde Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

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