Morebattle Hurdle Guide 2022

Andy Smith | @AndySmithRacing

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15
Nico de Boinville

Buveur D'Air

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 11
Weight: 11-12
OR: 153
Days: 331

A stable star for Nicky Henderson, Buveur D’Air is a two time champion hurdle winner and an 8 time grade 1 winner.
Clearly the class act of the race here, he’s now 11 years old and has had issues staying sound over the last couple of seasons.

Beaten in the 2019 Fighting Fifth when suffering a foot injury, he’s only ran twice since. Coming 2nd to Navajo Pass in a Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock last January before coming 4th in last season’s Aintree hurdle.

His official rating has been trimmed markedly by the handicapper and the once 172 rated hurdler finds himself running off 153 now. If being able to retain some of his old ability a mark of 153 could massively underestimate him.

He goes well fresh and has never ran in a handicap before. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him roll back the years.

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15
Craig Nichol

Some Reign

J: Craig Nichol
T: Rose Dobbin
Age: 11
Weight: 10-5
OR: 132
Days: 126

An 11 year old for Rose Dobbin, Some Reign has spent most of his time over fences having only notched up 5 runs over hurdles.

A winner of a maiden way back in 2017, he failed to score in his subsequent three outings over timber and was moved to chasing the following campaign.

With things not clicking immediately again he found form hard to come by and didn’t win until his third season as a chaser.

He has since scored a couple of times over fences in low level handicap events. He has been tried at listed level as a chaser but performed poorly, not beating a single rival home.

A hurdle mark of 132 doesn’t leave him particularly well treated here and he’s got plenty to find.

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15
Alan Doyle

Voix Du Reve

J: Alan Doyle
T: Iain Jardine
Age: 10
Weight: 10-8
OR: 135
Days: 30

Ian Jardine’s Voix Du Reve is best known for his time with Willie Mullins over in Ireland where the 10 year old gained much success.

Only winning twice over hurdles initially for Mullins before finding more success over fences. Winning his first start over fences he then went on to score a Grade 2 in taking fashion and rounded out the season with a Grade 1 win over 2.5 miles as a novice chaser.

Wins became hard to come by when he moved out of novice company and after one season in open company as a chaser he moved to Ian Jardine.

He’s yet to win since moving yards but has performed well in handicap hurdles going down narrowly a couple of times.

This season has been relatively disappointing too, coming dead last in his first two runs and he was last seen being beaten by Saint D’oroux here over 2 miles and 5 furlongs.

At 10 years old it’s doubtful that he has the pace to get competitive in a hot looking handicap hurdle but a mark of 135 could be workable on his best form when going back up in trip.

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15


T: James Moffatt
Age: 8
Weight: 10-5
OR: 132
Days: 143

An 8 year old for James Moffat, Alqamar was a decent sort on the flat for Charlie Appleby and despite only winning once on the level, he managed to gain a rating of 91.

Despite being beaten on his first outing over hurdles he more than made up for it with a devastating victory over 2 miles on his second attempt. What followed was an impressive succession of wins.

Defying a penalty in novice company before moving into open handicap company and winning twice with ease.

Taking on a revised mark of 132 last time out back in October, he looked to be going well enough before coming to grief 4 out.

He retains a mark of 132 for that and Charlotte Jones claims 5lbs of that back. This novice is still relatively unexposed and has been improving rapidly in handicaps.

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15
Derek Fox


J: Derek Fox
T: Lucinda Russell
Age: 9
Weight: 10-0
OR: 123
Days: 12

The current outsider of the field for Lucinda Russell, Thereisnodoubt spent most of his career in Ireland.

Starting life with Augustine Leahy he failed to win over hurdles before moving to Shane Crawley’s yard and winning a brace of low level handicaps.

He kept improving and scored again in handicap company off a mark of 117 but that was the last time he won.
An attempt at chasing only lasted one run where he failed to complete.

He’s spent this calendar year with Lucinda Russell and has shown some improved form over hurdles. However he has only run in low class affairs and despite finishing a close 2nd both times, he seems to be lacking the quality to win off marks in the mid 120’s.

Unlikely to be anywhere near good enough to make an impression in this race.

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15
Sean Quinlan


J: Sean Quinlan
T: Brian Ellison
Age: 6
Weight: 10-7
OR: 134
Days: 35

A flat recruit for Brian Ellison, his form was relatively weak on the flat and he only managed to accumulate a mark of 57 before leaving the care of Stef Keniry.

A poor first attempt at hurdling saw him go back to the flat and run markedly better over staying trips on the level. He then went on to score in maiden company over timber, beating a well fancied sort for the Skeleton's in Faivoir.

His form was starting to dip over hurdles, despite putting in some decent runs on the flat in between but he bounced right back to form when winning at Cheltenham at the end of January.

Narrowly defying a mark of 130, he got up late to snatch victory. A revised mark of 134 isn’t overly harsh and he can put in another bold showing if holding his form.

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15
Sean Bowen


J: Sean Bowen
T: Harry Fry
Age: 6
Weight: 11-5
OR: 146
Days: 43

After displaying some moderate form on the flat for Andrew Slattery, Metier made the move over to the Harry Fry for training over jumps.

Taking to life in the new discipline immediately he scored a quick hat trick over timber winning a maiden, a conditions race and a grade one in the Tolworth Hurdle.

He was grossly outpaced in the Supreme and trailed home in last place of the 7 finishers.

Things looked to be amiss at the start of this season. Pulling up when favourite in a listed handicap at Sandown.

He put in a markedly better effort on his next start in a grade 3 at Ascot despite being on ground faster than ideal for him but bounced right back to form when last seen at Lingfield to win off a mark of 139 with relative ease.

A 7lbs rise in the weights might not be enough to stop him but connections will be praying for plenty of rain to make conditions nice and testing.

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15
Brian Hughes


J: Brian Hughes
T: Ben Pauling
Age: 6
Weight: 10-0
OR: 125
Days: 35

A 6 year old gelding for Ben Pauling was smart on the flat for Mick Channon. Running 10 times and winning once gained him a respectable mark of 91.

Taken hurdling, he scored at the first time of asking at Carlisle before failing to take to listed level on his next outing. Beaten out of sight by Llandinabo Lad and then being unable to get near Third Time Lucki in a novice event at the end of the season.

Returning to the track in handicaps this season, he failed to find his feet, initially being well beaten on his first two tries and seeing his mark tumble from 127 to 122. Off that lower mark however he put in a stellar effort to be a narrow 2nd to Cormier at Cheltenham.

However the handicapper has shifted him back up to 127 and he’s actually 1lb worse off with Cormier now. Hard to trust after only one decent outing over hurdles recently.

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15
Harry Skelton


J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
Age: 7
Weight: 11-2
OR: 143
Days: 14

A point to point winner who made the transition to rules racing with the Skelton's, Faivoir was beaten on hurdles debut by Cormier but quickly left that behind to score at the second time of asking impressively.

Scoring a Grade 2 victory as a novice hurdler, he rounded the season out with a couple of novice wins over 2.5 miles despite shouldering penalties for his previous hurdling successes.

Taken chasing this season, he has run well over the larger obstacles in his 5 outings and won twice. He also finished a decent 2nd in a graded race before being beaten on heavy ground at Lingfield.

Last seen only recently in the Kingwell Hurdle behind Goshen, he was well left behind by the winner and 2nd. A mark of 143 is maybe workable but he’s had a busy season and looked to be feeling it at Wincanton only two weeks ago.

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15
Mr Ben Bromley

Saint D'oroux

J: Mr Ben Bromley
T: S R B Crawford
Age: 6
Weight: 10-11
OR: 138
Days: 30

After one hurdle run as a 3 year old over in France, Saint D’oroux was purchased by Munir and Souede and taken over to Gordon Elliot for training in Ireland.

It took a few attempts for him to warm to life in Ireland but after bolting up in a maiden he then was a close 3rd in the 2020 Boodles handicap.

His form seriously deteriorated afterwards. Despite dipping his toe into novice races through the summer he failed to score again and subsequently found it hard to win in handicaps despite running with credit.

Moving over to Stuart Crawford’s yard in January of this year, he managed to score in handicap company on his first outing for new connections over 2 miles and 5 furlongs off a mark of 135.

Coming back down in trip doesn’t look an obvious move but a 7lb claimer in the saddle more than makes up for the 3lbs rise from the handicapper.

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15
Chester Williams

Balko Saint

J: Chester Williams
T: Mrs Jane Williams
Age: 5
Weight: 10-6
OR: 133
Days: 126

A promising juvenile hurdler last season for Jane Williams, Balko Saint finished placed on his first three outings over timber, including a good 3rd in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham.

Getting off the mark in a novice against older horses saw him take a rating of 134 into the Boodles handicap but he only managed to come home in 11th of the 22 runners. He did however manage to win a race over in France during the summer.

A prep run for this season over in France saw him come last but he left that behind to score at Kempton at listed level. Last seen over in France again he was soundly beaten at listed level over there again.

A mark of 133 isn’t unworkable for the 5 year old but he hasn’t been seen for 126 days and was poor over in France.

Kelso - March 05 2022
Kelso 15:15
Sean O'Keeffe

Autumn Evening

J: Sean O'Keeffe
T: Mrs John Harrington
Age: 5
Weight: 11-6
OR: 147
Days: 27

An Irish raider for Jessica Harrington, 5 year old Autumn Evening failed to win on the flat and took 5 attempts to break his maiden over timber too.

Taking a handicap off a mark of 122, he struggled for form following that until getting back into the winner’s enclosure when taking a decent conditions hurdle at Fairyhouse in January.

Last seen running a great race to be 3rd in a grade B handicap hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, Autumn Evening was only beaten by 4 lengths in a deep handicap.

Running off a rating in the UK of 147 looks stiff enough but he’s still young and improving over hurdles and could defy the handicapper.