Betfair Hurdle Preview: Poppy Kay Good Value At 20/1

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Despite having many fancied runners over the years trainer Philip Hobbs has yet to win Newbury’s valuable Betfair Hurdle but that could change this weekend with his only entry Poppy Kay. Twenty seven horses stood their ground at Monday’s declaration stage headed by top weight High Bridge and with a maximum permitted field of 24 the possibility exists of one or two possible contenders failing to make the cut for the two mile contest known for many years as the Schweppes Gold Trophy.

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Having already advised the Nicky Henderson-trained Kayf Grace at 14-1 some time ago the eight-year-old looks sure to go well for his handler who has won the race a record five times and could be represented by as many as five contenders in this year’s renewal, but in what looks a wide-open contest it could pay to have an each-way saver on Poppy Kay who runs off would could prove a fair mark of 137.

The probable mount of champion jockey Richard Johnson is at her best in a fast run race, something which looks virtually guaranteed in Saturday’s handicap worth over £88,000 to the victor. An easy winner at Newbury on her seasonal reappearance in November the daughter of Kayf Tara has not had the race run to suit her the last twice, finishing third at the Berkshire track in December before taking a four-runner affair at Sandown last month.

Outpaced when the tempo increased approaching the second last on her penultimate start, the mare ran on strongly when finding her stride on the run in, going down in third place by just two lengths to High Bridge and Charli Parcs, a highly creditable effort in the circumstances. Poppy Kay is likely to renew rivalry with both of those horses on Saturday and is fancied to come out on top on this occasion.

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Lalor, 9-1 ante-post favourite with Ladbrokes, would prove a popular winner for trainer Kayley Woollacott who took over the licence from her husband Richard who died recently while the improving Irish Roe is capable of going close for trainer Peter Atkinson but at the 20-1 generally available Poppy Kay should run a big race with conditions to suit.

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