Grade Two Rendlesham Hurdle Guide

Haydock - February 20 2021
Haydock 14:05
4
James Bowen

On The Blind Side

J:
 
James Bowen
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
Age: 9
Weight: 11-6
OR: 153
Days: 35

On The Blind Side for Nicky Henderson has really turned his career around this term with some superb performances and it puts him right in the frame for this event.

Having been tried over fences, hurdles and on the flat last season Henderson is sticking with flights this term and he has made a bright start to the campaign.

He went to Cheltenham on seasonal debut in November for the Listed Handicap Hurdle and beat a decent field of runners over three miles.

He then headed back over the same course and distance last time out and the extra weight told being beat into second by the well handicapped Come On Teddy.

Dropped slightly in trip but upped in Grade, he was sent to Kempton in the Grade Two Relkeel Hurdle and finished a superb second behind bright spark McFabulous.

Quickly turned around, he went to Market Rasen just a week later and going back up to three mile made the difference and saw him land a decent hurdle event.

Being sent back into a Grade Two should not phase him and being a proven stayer could make all the difference for him in this event.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
10/04/21AIN24.5GS11-76
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-63
16/01/21MAR23Hy11-41
09/01/21KEM21Sft11-42
11/12/20CHL24Sft11-112
Haydock - February 20 2021
Haydock 14:05
7
A P Heskin

Itchy Feet

J:
 
A P Heskin
T:
 
Olly Murphy
Age: 7
Weight: 11-2
OR: 155
Days: 63

Itchy Feet has been one of the yards best horses over the last few years having landed the yards first ever Grade One winner last term when taking the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown.

As a hurdler, the six year old gave a career best performance at the 2019 Cheltenham festival when finishing third behind the Willie Mullins trained Klassical Dream and stablemate Thomas Darby.

He was stepped up to fences last term and made a superb start to life over the bigger obstacles when taking his two events including that black type event at Sandown.

He then headed into the Marsh Novices' Chase at this year's Cheltenham festival and although being one of the market leaders could only unseat Gavin Sheehan early on in the contest.

He made his debut this season in the Grade Two Old Roan Chase at Aintree last month and off the back of his decent third, went to Ascot next time out and was a fair second behind the progressive gelding Imperial Aura for Kim Bailey.

Last time out he went back to Ascot over the same course and distance and again had to settle for second in a Graduation Chase behind Dashel Drasher, who has since franked the form.

Although Itchy Feet has been featuring in the frame, he has not been performing to the standard over fences that Murphy would like.

His return to hurdles and step up to three miles could spark a revival, but he will have to give a career best to challenge.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
09/04/21AIN20GS11-73
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-25
19/12/20ASC21Hy11-72
21/11/20ASC21Sft11-42
25/10/20AIN20Sft11-93
Haydock - February 20 2021
Haydock 14:05
1
Gavin Sheehan

Emitom

J:
 
Gavin Sheehan
T:
 
Warren Greatrex
Age: 7
Weight: 11-8
OR: 154
Days: 125

The Warren Greatrex trained Emitom, who heads back to the Merseyside track for the first time in a year, looking to defend his title in the Grade Two Rendlesham Hurdle.

The seven year old has been a smart performer for the most part of his career, landing six of his 11 races including four times over hurdles and twice in bumpers.

Last season the gelding was only seen three times, winning this event over three miles in fine style on his penultimate start and off the back of that went to Cheltenham and finished a good fourth in the Grade One Stayers' Hurdle.

This season the gelding was sent chasing by his trainer and it has not worked out, finishing second on debut at Uttoxeter, before being outclassed last time out at Ffos Las when finishing third of three runners behind If The Cap Fits and Fiddlerontheroof.

The team have now abandoned the chasing dream and are sending him back over hurdles where he can flourish again, especially if getting the testing conditions he revels in.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-86
18/10/20FFO21GS11-33
04/10/20UTT20GS11-42
12/03/20CHL24Sft11-104
15/02/20HAY24.5Hy11-21
Haydock - February 20 2021
Haydock 14:05
3
Fergus Gillard

Main Fact

J:
 
Fergus Gillard
T:
 
David Pipe
Age: 8
Weight: 11-6
OR: 154
Days: 63

The David Pipe trained Main Fact has been a superstar yardstick and landing nine consecutive wins for his trainer, just falling short of the magic 10 in a row last time out.

The training performance from the Pipe team has been tremendous with the seven year old, staying on from a horrible position to land the Grade Three Stayers' Handicap Hurdle last time out.

The gelding had been running on both the flat and over hurdles and having up 15lb for this run, many thought that it would be impossible for him to win on his latest start.

However, with the heavy ground coming it saw off the challenge of some of the more prominent runners in the market and left Main Fact to power up the straight to victory.

This saw him land nine straight races in a row having been superb on both the flat and over hurdles this term, but when stepped up to Grade One company last time out was blown out of the water.

He will need to be better than his below par run in the Long Walk Hurdle in December and although him handling heavy ground, this looks another strong race.

Haydock - February 20 2021
Haydock 14:05
2
Sean Bowen

Lisnagar Oscar

J:
 
Sean Bowen
T:
 
Rebecca Curtis
Age: 8
Weight: 11-8
OR: 159
Days: 85

Lisnagar Oscar for Rebecca Curtis is a very much hit and miss horse that has shown superb form in his career, none better than when winning the Grade One Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival last season.

He was a big outsider that day, but he has proven throughout his career that staying races over hurdles are his forte, but he needs a revival in form to win this event.

The gelding has had two starts this year, starting off at Wetherby in a very good Grade Two Hurdle that saw him finish fourth behind Roksana and Next Destination who have since franked the form.

Last time out he went to Newbury and he chucked in one of his worst performances for a while when seventh of 10 in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

He did run his race that day and although the form of that race has worked out well, he has not been seen since and needs to bounce back to near his best to go close in this.

Haydock - February 20 2021
Haydock 14:05
8
Tom Cannon

Third Wind

J:
 
Tom Cannon
T:
 
Hughie Morrison
Age: 7
Weight: 11-2
OR: 146
Days: 63

Third Wind for Hughie Morrison is one of the big outsiders heading into this race having shown fair form in handicap events but never been able to cut it at this level.

The six year old has mainly ran over hurdles all his life, showing he enjoys a staying contest and on the premises of his form should be closer in the market to other horses that are shorter.

Having finished a good fourth at last seasons Cheltenham festival in the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle, He made a fair seasonal debut at Newbury in November finishing fifth in a Pertemps Qualifier.

Two starts ago he gave one of his best performances to date when a narrow second to Main Fact at Haydock and although that looks smart form, he could not back it up last time out.

He went into the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot over three miles and finished a tame fifth behind Paisley Park, Thyme Hilll and Roksana.

This race is easier on Saturday, but it would take something special from him to go close, heavy ground a plus for him.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-21
19/12/20ASC24.5Hy11-75
21/11/20HAY24.5Sft10-122
05/11/20NBY24Gd11-125
12/03/20CHL24Sft11-14
Haydock - February 20 2021
Haydock 14:05
5
Jordan Nailor

Ballyoptic

J:
 
Jordan Nailor
T:
 
Nigel Twiston-Davies
Age: 11
Weight: 11-2
OR: 158
Days: 35

Nigel Twiston-Davies gelding is normally seen over the larger obstacles but reverts to hurdles here for the first time since October 2017.

The 11 year old’s had a poor campaign so far, pulling up in the Charlie Hall, coming 10th in the Ladbrokes Trophy and coming sixth at Warwick last time out.

He is however very at home around Wetherby and boasts a record of two wins from four runs. Both times he’s completed a race around this course he’s won.

Rated 158, he certainly has the class for Grade Two events but might just find the lack of obstacles to jump not to his liking.

Likely that this is to try and reignite his interest for racing again before going for a more suitable target over fences.

Best avoided as he’s not won a race over hurdles since October 2016.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-27
16/01/21WAR29.5Sft11-76
28/11/20NBY26Gd11-90
31/10/20WET24Sft11-6P
15/02/20ASC24Sft11-101
Haydock - February 20 2021
Haydock 14:05
6
Sean Quinlan

Donna's Diamond

J:
 
Sean Quinlan
T:
 
Chris Grant
Age: 12
Weight: 11-2
OR: 137
Days: 28

The Chris Grant trained Donna's Diamond is the big 66/1 outsider of this field and has plenty going against him in this field.

Still going at the age of 12 the gelding has arguably now has his best years behind him and off the back of his two runs this season it would also suggest that.

The veteran made his seasonal debut at Carlisle in a Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f and was dead last of six runners, in what was an extremely weak event compared to this.

Trying to spark a revival he went to Haydock last time out, stepping up three miles in a Handicap Hurdle and again he was a weak seventh of nine runners.

His form is nothing short of average and although finishing second in this event last year in heavy ground, it was a much weaker contest and this year he is opposable.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-2P
23/01/21HAY24.5Hy12-17
01/11/20CRL20Hy11-96
12/03/20CHL24Sft11-10P
15/02/20HAY24.5Hy11-22

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