Holloway's Handicap Hurdle Guide

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Runners:

Ballymoy, Seddon and Thosedaysaregone are just some of the many names remaining involved in the Grade Three Holloway's Handicap Hurdle at Ascot this weekend.

A hurdle contest over two-and-a-half miles, there are eighteen possibilities ahead of the final declaration stage.

As mentioned, three promising 6yo's currently head the market. Starting with Nigel Twiston-Davies' Ballymoy, who has only lost on one of his last six racecourse appearances. That was at Newbury, where he ran an unknowingly displeasing race behind Global Citizen in Listed company.

However, he put it right when dropping in class at Haydock latest, proving he can handle heavy conditions just before Christmas. He has also won a Chepstow this season.

Tom George on-the-other-hand will be hoping Seddon can get back to his best, after two sub-standard efforts at Cheltenham and Ascot latest.

Down the field in last year's Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, he won on hurdles debut at Stratford on the first day of November.

You could argue jumping up to Grade Two level and going on to place in two contests is creditable, so a drop to a Grade Three could go to show his level.

Owned by the McNeill family, he looks to upset the current favourite Thosedaysaregone, who landed a Class Three handicap only a week ago.

The gelded son of Getaway looks a strong fancy for this, but will also have to contend with a Equus Amadeus, who is two from his last three.

Excuses at Cheltenham in the Greatwood, this 6yo has won both starts either side of that at Wincanton and Doncaster latest. Form looks strong, beating a solid novice hurdle Irish Roe at Town Moor just before Christmas.

Peter Bowen's Lord Napier was third in the Lanzarote last Saturday, finishing just three lengths down on Big Time Dancer and looks out for more.

A son of Galileo, Bowen's charge had been crying out for a step-up in trip after rallying late at Ascot in the Betfair Exchange Trophy, and will get another chance to prove his worth.

Elsewhere, Highest Sun has only had two starts for Colin Tizzard since making the transition from France, and could very much the unknown quantity in the field.

Meanwhile, New Quay is a course a distance winner from two starts ago, drawing clear in a novices handicap by ten lengths, and will look to repeat that feat.

Colonial Dreams, Man Of Plenty and Paul Nicholls duo Risk and Roll and Djingle - also owned by the McNeill family are all fairly prominent in the market.

Trends:

This race opens up several doors for those handicapping, and with high ambitions to compete at the Cheltenham Festival. Nine of the last eleven winners of this contest got their wish, however this event provided no instant subsequent winners.

Seven of the last eleven winners had raced within the last four weeks, with five of those winning.

Five of the last eleven winners had raced at Ascot previously, but two less had competed at Cheltenham in their last respective outing.

Nine winners since 2007 were aged seven or younger, five of which were aged six.

Betting wise, all bar two of the last eleven were priced 5/1 or bigger in the betting.

Six of the last eleven were from outside the top three in the betting. Only two favourites have won in that time, suggesting in our runner guide - we may have not even written about the future winner!

Eight of the last eleven carried 10st11 or more in weight, with six of those going onto race in that season’s Coral Cup; best finish third. That looks the obvious arrival at the Festival.

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