Stan James International Hurdle betting
Otherwise known as the second leg in the road to Cheltenham, the Stanjames.com International Hurdle should give us a better idea of the leading players for March’s Champion Hurdle, writes Mikey Mumford. Last year’s supreme novice winner Menorah bids to keep up Richard Johnson’s excellent record in this race, Overturn bids for a four-timer for Donald McCain while Grandouet looks another major player. The race over 2m1f will see eight flights of hurdles negotiated with the winner in for a share of the £130,000 pot.
Menorah Surprising he reverted back to hurdles after unseating last time out in a three-runner novice chase at Exeter. Would have won that day had it not been for that mistake but interesting connections have opted to go back down this route. He is a course and distance winner and has struggled a little taking on some useful rivals but holds a strong chance here.
Overturn Game front-runner who has made all on his last three runs all over 2m plus including when beating Binocular in the fighting fifth at Newcastle latest. Faces some more classy rivals here but holds every chance if getting his own way in front and possibilities if being able to dictate again.
Brampour Better than ever this season with two impressive wins the last twice at Ascot and over slightly shorter at this track last time. Has the excellent Harry Derham aboard who has marshalled him in those two victories and should get his ground. Chance of completing hat-trick bid if he’s in similar mood.
Clerk’s Choice Trainer won this race three times before and although he is a previous course and distance winner here, he faces another step up in class. Was beaten favourite last time and not difficult to look elsewhere.
Grandouet Easy winner at Haydock last time and that dispelled the disappointment when he fell at Wincanton the time before when going well 2 out. Looks a horse still on the upgrade after his excellent Punchestown win in May and receives 4Ib from both Menorah and Overturn and should go very close.
Sanctuaire Often too keen at the start of his races and that has been his downfall a little in his recent races. However, if he settles he merits serious respect and had Overturn comfortably behind when scoring at Ayr earlier this year and could be one for the each-way honours at a price.
Pittoni Failed to make an impression at Punchestown latest on soft ground which he often enjoys and looks up against it here against this field. Has the assistance of champion jockey Tony McCoy but that probably one of the few positives.
Stormy Weather Not in the same class as some of these and would be a major surprise to see him trouble any of these.
Really competitive renewal where Menorah can make an impression back over hurdles after a short but unsuccessful chasing career. Donald McCain must be very hopeful Overturn can complete a hat-trick but if being able to stretch these from the front. But the port of call goes to GRANDOUET who looks the one to beat receiving 4Ib from those two rivals. Brampour could run another big race at a price. [Mikey Mumford]
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