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Friday 20 November 2015

2.25 Haydock, Saturday, November 21

The Betfair “Tap Tap Boom” “Fixed Brush” Handicap Hurdle, run over 2 miles 6 furlongs and 77 yards at Haydock, is a fairly recent addition to the National Hunt calendar, but is invariably highly competitive. At the time of writing, all bar five of the 16-strong field declared for this year’s renewal are trading at 12/1 or longer, so a long-priced winner is a distinct possibility.

The first one that catches our eye is One For Harry (20/1), who was still well in contention when falling at the fourth last in this race last year and is just 2lb higher in the weights this time around. Indeed, the Generous gelding recorded a career-best effort when beating Shotavodka by half a length over 2 miles 4 furlongs on his seasonal reappearance at Ayr earlier this month, so comes into the race at the top of his game. Nicky Richards’ 7-year-old has yet to win over this far, but has won over 2 miles 4 furlongs on testing courses such as Carlisle and Hexham, including on soft going, so shouldn’t be inconvenienced by an extra three furlongs or so.

David Pipe makes life difficult by saddling two, but it’s interesting that stable jockey Tom Scudamore has chosen Batavir (20/1) over stable companion Low Key (20/1). The Muhatthir gelding could only finish ninth of 16, beaten 16 lengths, behind Ron’s Dream over regulation hurdles at Cheltenham last week, but he makes a quick reappearance and his experience over hurdles based on the French design should stand him in good stead. He remains 7lb higher in the weights than when winning over 2 miles 5½ furlongs at Wincanton on Boxing Day, but only beat a retreat after the second last at Cheltenham at may be a different proposition this time. Certainly, he’ll relish testing conditions.

Selections: One For Harry (20/1 with Paddy Power), Batavir (20/1 with Paddy Power)


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