Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle Preview – Saturday 21st November
Last updated: November 20, 2020 by Leon Marshal
The big betting race on Saturday’s Haydock card is the Betfair Stayer’s Handicap Hurdle over three miles. This is one of the most valuable staying handicap hurdles of the season and was formerly run over French-style fixed brush hurdles. The race reverted to standard hurdles in 2017 when victory went to Sam Spinner. The following year the race was won by Paisley Park who went on to win the Grade 1 Cheltenham Stayers’ Hurdle. Other notable winners include Halcon Genelardais (2006), Diamond Harry (2009) and Dynaste (2011).
Imperial Alcazar the Ante-Post Favourite at Haydock
Imperial Alcazar has been installed as ante-post favourite, despite not having raced since the end of January. That was a comfortable win in a novice hurdle in heavy ground at Leicester. It followed a fine second to Protektorat at Cheltenham when beaten only a head. The winner ended the season rated 144 and is now making a name for himself as a novice chaser. 140 seems an attractive mark for Imperial Alcazar and Fergal O’Brien’s horses are in good form.
David Pipe’s prolific Main Fact was a notable absentee from last weekend’s Greatwood Hurdle. With the benefit of hindsight, the very testing conditions would have been right up his street. Instead, he is set to bid for a ninth consecutive victory over a mile further trip as he tackles three miles for the first time. Pipe has booked a 7lbs claimer to reduce the burden of his steep rise in the handicap, officially 15lbs higher than his last win over hurdles at Uttoxeter last March. He has since rattled off a hat-trick on the flat, and his style of racing suggests that he will stay.
Third Wind has already attracted each-way support from 12-1 to 8-1 for the Hughie Morrison stable. He finished a fine fourth to Sire Du Berlais in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival and races off the same mark. Third Wind carried 11st 12lbs into a close fifth behind veteran Dell’ Arca at Newbury recently. He was not knocked about that day and can go close off a lighter weight at Haydock.
Relegate Drops in Class After Navan Run
Just behind Third Wind in fifth place at Cheltenham was Relegate who started joint-favourite. She has never quite lived up to expectations after winning the Champion Bumper under Katie Walsh in 2018. A moderate run behind Sire Du Berlais at Navan in a Grade 2 event should have sharpened her up for this valuable prize.
Collooney races in the famous JP McManus silks for Olly Murphy. The son of Yeats overcame a 212-day absence to win with a bit in hand at Fontwell last month when rated 129. He has had his training problems and was a long way adrift of Third Wind at Wincanton on Boxing Day after wind surgery. He races off a 5lbs higher mark on Saturday.
The Jam Man won on the flat at York in October before winning the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan by 18 lengths. He has some decent hurdles form in the book, notably when second at Leopardstown in February off a rating of 139. He is 9lbs higher this weekend, but that is reduced by his rider’s 5lbs claim. He has had issues including an aspergillus infection in the summer but appears to be in rude health at present.
Highland Hunter showed promise on his seasonal bow when second to Justatenner at Ayr in heavy ground. He stayed on at one pace all the way up the straight and looks a staying chaser in the making. Dolphin Square is tough and consistent and seems to go in any ground. He was ahead of Third Wind at Newbury on good ground and cannot be ruled out of the places here.
West To The Bridge is a strong-travelling sort who won comfortably at Carlisle last time out. That was over two and a half miles, and it remains to be seen whether Harry Skelton can keep enough in reserve for this extreme stamina test. There seems to be no stopping Alan King at present, over jumps or on the flat. He relies on Who Dares Wins, a winner on the flat, over hurdles and over fences. Although a thorough stayer on the level, his hurdles form suggests that he is best at two and a half miles.
Betfair Stayers’ Hurdle Betting Tips
The Jam Man @4-1 Bet365
Main Fact @7-1
Third Wind @8-1
Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3,4
The Betfair Stayers’ Hurdle is due off at 2.25 at Haydock on Saturday 21st November and will be screened live on ITV.