Two Outsiders AGainst the Field in Betfair Hurdle
Evan Williams runs two in this valuable handicap hurdle race and is quoted as saying “one needs good ground, and one needs softer ground“.
It is Quoi De Neuf that will enjoy the drying ground and with small showers forecast on Saturday he looks overpriced. Adam Wedge has chosen to ride Mack The Man but it must have been a very close decision and the value lies with stablemate Quoi De Neuf with Brian Hughes booked to ride. This is a horse we have backed twice this season at Cheltenham and Ascot.
In the Greatwood hurdle at Cheltenham he race a cracker for such an inexperienced horse showing plenty of speed and hurdling well. Quoi De Neuf was out battled a bit from the final flight to the line but kept to his task well and is closely matched with the likes of winner Harambe & runner up Gumball. At Ascot he had no chance getting brought down by Zanza who fell down the far side. The ground will most likely be good with some good to soft. Carrying a weight of 10-6, Brian Hughes has landed a very good ride in a very competitive handicap on an unexposed young improving hurdler.
Zanza is overpriced here against more familiar names and recent winners. He fell at Ascot in the Grade 3 handicap hurdle won by Not So Sleepy. We can forgive him that fall as it was his first in nine runs over hurdles. It is his Newbury record that catches the eye having won twice over course and distance. He bombed out last year in this race when run at Ascot racing much too freely. Trainer Philip Hobbs put a hood on him next time out and he duly obliged beating Our Merlin and Nube Negra on good to soft ground.
He is a second season hurdler who left his first run of the season well behind when winning here again last November under Sean Houlihan settling nicely and powering ahead from the last flight to the line. In behind that day was Magic Dancer who gives that form a boost having placed second behind Al Dancer in this race last season. Zanza was turned out quickly just 10 days later in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham where he ran better than his over 9l sixth place finish to Harambe. He fluffed the final hurdle in the Greatwood and ran around a bit up the hill. The handicapper has him rated 138 which is only 2lb higher than when winning here before Christmas. The key is he settles well off a strong pace and comes home strong as he has plenty of stamina at this trip. This race will have been the plan since November and I can easily see him outrun his massive odds.
Newbury - 3:35
0.5 Point EACH WAY Quoi De Neuf (20/1 Paddy Power, William Hill & Betfair SB, all paying 6 places)
0.5 Point EACH WAY Zanza (50/1 Paddy Power, William Hill & Betfair SB, all paying 6 places)
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