International Hurdle Guide

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1. Ch'tibello

Trainer - Dan Skelton

Jockey - Harry Skelton

The first horse of the day is the Cheltenham festival winner Ch'tibello who landed the County Handicap Hurdle in March in his stand out victory to date.

After that he rounded off the season in the Grade One Aintree Hurdle at the Grand National meeting finishing a decent third behind Buveur D'Air and Supasundae.

The eight year old is making his seasonal debut in this one having a good record at the track but will have to be at the top of his game to take this with some smart horses in the field.

2. Gumball

Trainer - Philip Hobbs

Jockey - Richard Johnson

Gumball has been a worthy advisory for this yard over both hurdles and the flat during his career but he has started this season in fine form over hurdles which makes him a huge each way shout.

He had a comeback run at the end of September at Market Rasen finishing third in a Listed contest which was used to get him back in the swing of things.

Since then he went on to landed the Listed Sodexo Handicap Hurdle at Ascot and last time out finishing second at Cheltenham in the Greatwood Hurdle which was a tough contest.

3. Le Patriote

Trainer - Dr Richard Newland

Jockey -

This seven year old gelding has been a smart hurdler during his career especially at the back end of last season when finishing his campaign with two wins on the bounce at Cheltenham and Ayr.

He landed the hat-trick at Haydock in May in a 17 runner Grade Three that looked a decent contest on quick ground and he will need to be better than that form in this.

His seasonal came at Ascot in a hot Grade Two last month where he was outclassed only finishing fourth and that makes him opposable.

4. Elixir De Nutz

Trainer - Colin Tizzard

Jockey - Harry Cobden

A smart Grade One winning threat to the favourite is this horse who has been off the track for over 300 days but if retaining last seasons ability has to be in the mix.

Racing four times last season he landed the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown whilst also landing the Grade Two Supreme Novices Trial at the December meeting over course and distance.

He has raced three times at Cheltenham with two wins and a second showing he handles the track and if being fresh from his injury lay off the Grade One winner has to be respected.

5. Pentland Hills

Trainer - Nicky Henderson

Jockey - Nico De Boinville

The Grade One Triumph Hurdle winner at last year's festival and the 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at the Grand National meeting, Pentland Hills looks the one to beat in this one.

The Nicky Henderson trained four year old came on the scene late last season but remained unbeaten in all three of his starts and makes his seasonal debut in the Grade Two International Hurdle on Saturday.

He is proven over this distance at the track and with form on both good and soft ground he looks a very versatile type that will be tough to beat.

6. Ballyandy

Trainer - Nigel Twiston-Davies

Jockey - Sam Twiston-Davies

Ballyandy is another horse that is hit and miss but when on song can mix it with the best of them and having course and distance form is always a positive at Cheltenham.

He is being sent back in trip for this run, going over three miles and slightly less on both his runs this season and not finishing off his races.

Two miles seems to be his optimum trip but this a tough class of race to be dropping back into and can only be seen grabbing a place at best.

7. Big Blue

Trainer - Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Jockey -

The big unknown entity in the Grade Two contest is the Australian raider Big Blue who has mixed between hurdles and the flat during his career and heads here off the back of the back of three flat runs.

Not many people know what to make of this horse not having ran over an obstacle since May and at 33/1 he looks easily opposable.

8. Call Me Lord

Trainer - Nicky Henderson

Jockey - Daryl Jacob

A big contender on Saturday is another of Nicky Henderson's runners in the race and this Simon Munir and Isaac Souede owned horse has some leading form entering the contest.

The six year old is still improving and last season ran to a decent standard at the back end of last season when finishing third at Sandown in a Grade Three.

He started this seasons campaign at Ascot over two miles three furlongs in the Grade Two Coral Hurdle narrowly being beat by the staying If The Cap Fits.

The drop to two miles looks a big positive and he has to be respected heading into the race already having a run this season.

9. Monsiuer Lecoq

Trainer - Mrs Jane Williams

Jockey - Lizzie Kelly

The penultimate runner in the contest is another in this competitive field with each way claims off the back of his third over course and distance last time out in the Greatwood Hurdle.

The five year old didn't quite stay up the hill that day which is a slight concern at this track but on his seasonal debut he landed a nice event at Ffos Las.

He is a smart performer for this smaller yard that will need to have come on for his last run to be in the mix.

10. Umbrigado

Trainer - David Pipe

Jockey -

The final runner of the race is one of the outsiders of the field and it would be a huge shock to see him win off the back of his last run when a weak fifth in a stayers event at Haydock.

Dropping back to two miles looks a negative though as his previous runs have been over further and we believe the pace will be too much for the five year old.

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