Ladbroke Hurdle 2013 Preview

The Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle is one of the most competitive handicap hurdles of the season and a field of 21 will face the starter on Saturday. Most of the top stables are strongly represented with Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson saddling two runners and David Pipe sending a team of six.

The Favourites

The betting is wide open but it is the Henderson pair of Rolling Star and Chatterbox that head the market. Rolling Star was a top novice last season but failed to live up to expectations at either Cheltenham or Liverpool.dellarca

The French import has ground to make up on several of his rivals on that form but looked an improved performer when winning on his seasonal debut at Haydock. He has been handicapped accordingly and his stable companion Chatterbox may have a better chance.

He was also successful in his novice season and was far from disgraced at the Cheltenham Festival in March. David Bass takes the ride with Barry Geraghty electing to stick with Rolling Star.

By far the strongest candidate of David Pipe’s six entries is the Greatwood Hurdle winner Dell Arca. The horse was having his first run since joining the trainer from France and battled on gamely to beat Sametegal in a driving finish. He is unlikely to be inconvenienced by the forecast soft ground and makes plenty of appeal at 10-1 with Bet365.

City Slicker runs in the colours of leading owner JP McManus and comes here in search of a hat-trick. He won nicely at Punchestown last time out but has since risen considerably in the handicap and will need to be high class to win this.

The Challengers

The best backed horse in the ante-post market has been Totalize, a winner at Pontefract on the flat in the summer. Brian Ellison reports him to be in great shape ahead of his seasonal debut and his odds have crashed from 25-1 into 8-1.

Paul Nicholls has a couple of likely candidates in Ptit Zig and Irish Saint. Ptit Zig won a Grade 1 event in France last time and has been saddled with top weight. He did not look Champion Hurdle class last season but will have to be if he is to win off 11st 12lb.

Irish Saint has been surprisingly easy to back at 25-1 this week and his trainer believes that he could be good each-way value. You can ignore a disappointing first outing as many of the stables runners have needed a race to put them straight.

David Pipe’s Swing Bowler would come into the reckoning on her third in the Betfair Hurdle behind My Tent Or Yours at Newbury. She did not repeat that performance at Cheltenham but could run a big race at a nice price.

Gordon Elliott won this race 12 months ago with 25-1 shot Cause Of Causes and is represented by Fred Winter Hurdle winner Flaxen Flare. The gelding was fourth behind Dell Arca in the Greatwood Hurdle but could get closer on 8lbs better terms.

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