Betfair Hurdle Preview: Kayf Grace To Give Nicky Henderson A Sixth Crown

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Kayf Grace – 12-1 Betvictor

No current trainer has a better record in Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle ( the Schweppes to us of a certain age ) than Seven Barrows handler Nicky Henderson who has five wins to his name, the most recent being that of triple Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours in 2013. Responsible for eight of the 56 horses entered for the 2018 renewal of the valuable extended two mile handicap Henderson is spoilt for choice and looks sure to have several representatives on Saturday 10th February.

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With current top weight Defi Du Seuil a doubtful starter the prospect of Henderson’s recent impressive Sandown scorer Call Me Lord being elevated to that position may result in connections bypassing the race in favour of a trip to Wincanton for the Kingwell Hurdle. Saturday’s Ascot winner Jenkins has hit form with a vengeance of late but may find it tough against one or two better handicapped rivals. The stable’s Lough Derg Spirit would have a chance if making the cut of 24 ( currently stands at 33 ) while stablemate William Henry goes into the race on the back of a victory in Kempton’s Lanzarote Hurdle last week.

Off a mark of just 140 however it is Kayf Grace who makes most appeal at the 12-1 available with Betvictor. The eight-year-old daughter of Kayf Tara beat a couple of decent Irish horses from the Mullins and Elliott stables in a Grade 2 Bumper at Aintree in 2016 prior to a hurdling career. An easy winner on her debut over the smaller obstacles at Bangor in December 2016 was the last time we saw the mare until reappearing at Ascot two months ago when failing to justify favouritism in the six-runner affair.

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It may be that Kayf Grace needed that run badly following a lay off of almost a year as she made no mistake on her most recent start when easily winning a handicap at Kempton over Christmas. With just three runs to her name over hurdles the possible mount of Nico De Boinville or top claimer James Bowen is open to plenty more improvement and it would be no surprise to see her sent off the clear favourite on the day of the race. Of the rest the Philip Hobbs-trained Poppy Kay will be suited by the likely pace of the race and makes some appeal at the 20-1 currently on offer with most firms.

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