International Hurdle Tips: Back this value play to cause a shock at Cheltenham

International Hurdle at Cheltenham: Song for Someone respected but opposed
International Hurdle at Cheltenham: Song for Someone respected but opposed

This is a disappointing field for such a prestigious race, in truth, but that doesn’t mean value cannot be found in the market! We have got Billy Grimshaw to look through the runners and riders and he likes the look of one currently available at a double figure price…

The International Hurdle has had a stellar list of winners, including legends like The New One, Rooster Booster and Harchibald, but it shouldn’t take a horse as mighty as those named to take the crown in the 2021 edition of the race. Favourite for the race since early declarations has been Song for Someone, and the likeable six-year-old certainly looks the most likely winner of those at the top of the market. He is guaranteed to enjoy the course and distance after winning this race last year, beating Silver Streak by a nose, and is expected to give a bold showing.

Sceau Royal is next in the betting and Alan King’s old stager will be hoping to return to form after fading tamely at the end of the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle last time out behind Epatante and Not So Sleepy. He still finished a respectable third in the Grade One but jumping the final flight looked ready to mount a serious challenge before seemingly being outbattled up the run in.  At odds of 11/4 and with his heart for a fight to prove others in the field make more appeal.

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Arguably the most interesting entry in the race is Ballyadam for the Gordon Elliott stable. He seemed to have the world at his feet in early 2019 with some seriously impressive bumper performances, and his novice hurdle campaign was promising enough to see him sent off 6/1 for the 2020 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, a race in which he finished runner up but was brushed aside by wide margin winner Appreciate It. Ballyadam was scheduled to go novice chasing this season but after a disastrous first fence fall on his debut and another poor jumping effort next time out, Elliott has reverted him back to the smaller obstacles for this race. If at his best he should be bang there, but it is a case of watch and learn for next time with this Irish raider.

Guard Your Dreams for Nigel Twiston-Davies is a horse seemingly improving, but his performance at Ascot when third behind Buzz (Song for Someone was in second) did not imply a step down in distance was what was required for improvement and it is unclear why the Twiston-Davies charge should reverse placings with the favourite.

The runner that jumps off the page is Coral Cup winner HEAVEN HELP US. It is perplexing to see bookmakers offering this Cheltenham Festival victor at double figure odds, and with no obvious pace rival in the field she could get an easy lead which proved so crucial back in March. She was a nine length winner at the Festival and being allowed to bowl along in front is obviously crucial to the mare’s chances. The course form will prove invaluable as Heaven Help Us aims for Grade 2 glory, along with the weight she receives from all the geldings. With her defeat at Punchestown last month easily excused due to a shuddering error it the second flight, the odds at the time of writing of 12/1 are too good to ignore.

International Hurdle
Heaven Help Us silk

Heaven Help Us

lost
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