Tolworth Hurdle Tips: 'Arry can cause a minor surprise

Tolworth Hurdle Tips: Shakem Up'Arry (far side) has shown some smart form over hurdles so far.
Tolworth Hurdle Tips: Shakem Up'Arry (far side) has shown some smart form over hurdles so far.

Nick Seddon previews Saturday’s Tolworth Novices' Hurdle at Sandown, which can serve as a good pointer for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, and picks out his best bet…

Traditionally the first Grade 1 contest of the calendar year, the Tolworth Hurdle tends to be a small but high-class affair, and it has produced some smart winners since its inception in 1976.

The winner of this generally goes on to become a key player for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March, though it’s worth noting that only two horses have gone on to win both races in the same season; Forest Sun in 1990 and Noland in 2006.

Rather curiously, none of the eight yards who are represented on Saturday have tasted victory in this race before, and the market leader at the time of writing is the unbeaten Metier, who represents the Harry Fry team.

The five-year-old was a useful performer on the Flat over in Ireland, and he's looked a smart recruit to this sphere in his two starts for his new yard to date, winning back-to-back events at Newton Abbot and Ascot respectively.

He looked a nice prospect when winning a useful-looking event at the latter (Tile Tapper second) in November, form which reads well here. He has proven form in testing going, and with the prospect of more improvement to come from him yet, he sets a solid standard for his in-form yard.

Cheltenham Festival Tips

The biggest threats as far as the market are concerned come from fellow unbeaten runner Adrimel and the Jane Williams-trained Galice Macalo. The latter made three starts over hurdles last season, with two of those coming at listed level, and although she was unable to get his nose in front during that campaign, she's started well so far this term, winning back-to-back minor events at Stratford and Warwick in October. She held her own when second on handicap debut in a competitive event over course and distance in December, and although this is a considerable step up in class, she's a likeable type and should give another good account here. 

Adrimel was good enough to take his chance in the Champion Bumper last term, and he's unbeaten in two starts over timber so far; winning on debut over course and distance in November, before following up in attritional conditions at Haydock last time out. He's open to more improvement yet, and is one to consider for the in-form Tom Lacey, who's bidding for his first ever top level winner. 

Two more to consider are Do Your Job and Smurphy Enki. The first-named represents the Michael Scudamore team, and he too made a good start to his hurdling career, winning events at Ffos Las and Ayr in October. However, he was well held when second in a listed contest at Haydock in November, and he'll need plenty more at this level, for all that there could be more to come from him yet. Meanwhile, Smurphy Enki completed a double in emphatic style in a minor race at Plumpton last month, and although that particular event was nothing out of the ordinary, he's interesting now upped in class. 

However, it could be worth chancing Shakem Up’Arry, who like Galice Macalo is in his second season as a novice hurdler. The seven-year-old showed some useful form without winning in his three starts last term, and although he was well held in the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival, he's been productive so far this season, getting off the mark in good style on reappearance at Ffos Las in November. He shaped well under a front-running ride on handicap debut in a competitive affair at Haydock in November, boxing on well to the line after kicking for home earlier than his rivals, and similarly aggressive tactics could serve him well here. 

The forecast heavy conditions will hold no fears for Shakem Up’Arry, who's proven on that type of going, and he shaped well for a long way when second behind the subsequent Supreme winner Shishkin over this trip at Newbury in January. Ben Pauling's charge has very much improved with experience since that outing, and bearing in mind he's a pretty straightforward type, he looks good value at around the 10/1 mark to prove tough to catch if getting into a good rhythm upfront. Finally, the field is completed by Tile Tapper and the hurdling debutant Gradeur D'Ame, and both have a tough task on their hooves if they are to make their presence felt at this kind of level. 

Selection

Tolworth Hurdle, Sandown, Saturday 2nd January - back Shakem Up’Arry at 10/1

Tolworth Hurdle
Shakem Up'arry silk

Shakem Up'arry

placed
Cheltenham Festival Races
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