News Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Hurdle

Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Hurdle


A small but select field has been assembled for the very first running of the Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Hurdle, an extended 2m3f contest worth £52,030 to the winner.

Two horses carry a 6lbs penalty, with Brewin’upastorm (pictured) earning his by virtue of winning Fontwell’s National Spirit Hurdle last February. Fifth in the Aintree Hurdle on his final outing last term, Olly Murphy’s talented nine-year-old has travelled kindly in two runs this season, having undergone wind surgery (for a second time) during the summer. An impressive winner of a similar contest at Aintree on his reappearance, he looked to have the measure of Stormy Ireland when falling at the final flight in Cheltenham’s Relkeel Hurdle, the second time he has done so on the New course. The fact that he reappears so quickly suggests that he suffered no ill effects of that fall and whilst he handles better ground, he has plenty of winning form on soft. The trip is ideal and If he copes with the heavy conditions, he ought to put up a very bold bid under Aidan Coleman.
The enigmatic Goshen is the other to be burdened with the maximum penalty, thanks to his victory in the Kingwell Hurdle, also last February. That is his sole success in six starts since his infamous final-flight mishap in the 2020 Triumph Hurdle and this is his first start on a left-handed track since last year’s Champion Hurdle, when he hung violently to his right. The configuration of the track has to be a concern, but he relishes testing ground and is two-from-two on heavy over hurdles. In the past, he has always seemed best when able to dominate in small fields, yet he was held-up in the Coral Hurdle on reappearance, on what was his first start over this sort of trip. He has stamina to prove, but does represent a stable who have been in a rich vein of form of late.
The oldest horse in the field, Darver Star comes out best at the weights, being rated just 2lbs inferior to Brewin’upastorm. Gavin Cromwell’s 10-year-old finished runner-up in the Irish Champion Hurdle in February 2020 and was third behind Epatante at Cheltenham the following month, and had been chasing until his most recent start at Punchestown. Reverting to the smaller obstacles, he travelled with zest under similar conditions (2m3f on heavy ground) and readily brushed aside the opposition, crossing the line with 20 lengths to spare. He wears the blinkers that have been applied for each of his past two runs and if he can reproduce that latest effort, he looks to be a major player.
Fellow Irish-raider Lucky Max was a runner on day one of the meeting and is taking a huge step up in class, given that he won a handicap off just 118 on his previous start, whilst the Paul Nicholls-trained mare Miranda also needs to take a big step forward, if she is to play a hand. The daughter of Camelot has yet to race beyond 2m, but does cope with soft ground and won the Grade 2 Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle at Doncaster last January. Having given away plenty of ground at the start at Ludlow (seemed reluctant to race), she did incredibly well to win last-time-out and the runner-up franked that form by winning at Newbury this week. It still leaves her with plenty to find with the main protagonists, however.