Sametegal to strike for Nicholls and Jacob in Greatwood Hurdle
Hurdlers take centre stage on Sunday with the competitive Greatwood Hurdle and Hurricane Fly reappearing at Punchestown. Whilst the Champion will be at very cramped odds, there could be some value to be had in Cheltenham’s feature event.
The ante-post favourite Nicky Henderson’s Cash And Go, largely on the strength of his run here 12 months ago when an excellent second to Olofi. His subsequent efforts were very disappointing and he looks worth opposing.
Paul Nicholls drew a rare blank here on Friday but has a leading chance with Sametegal, the mount of stable number one Daryl Jacob. He was tough and consistent in his juvenile season, winning twice and being placed on the other four occasions.
He was an unconsidered 33-1 shot when he ran in the Triumph Hurdle but put up a thoroughly respectable effort to finish third to Our Conor. He showed that run was no fluke when chasing home Court Minstrel in the Scottish Champion Hurdle on his final start.
He made his seasonal debut here at the last meeting and was hacking all over Handazan before being allowed to stride on before the second last. He may have idled in front or simply needed the race to put him straight as he had to battle to hold off Bayan by a neck.
Another horse with a leading chance is John Quinn’s Kashmir Peak. He clashed with Sametegal on two occasions last season, winning once and unseating his rider in the other.
His hurdling let him down at the festival but his most recent run on the flat suggests that he is well weighted here. He forced Thomas Hobson to pull out all the stops at Newbury and that horse has now joined the powerful Willie Mullins stable.
Pine Creek won the valuable William Hill Hurdle at Ascot first time out this season and has to be respected, even with a 7lbs penalty. Ifandbutwhynot and Thomas Edison have also attracted good money whilst Dell Arca is an unknown quantity having joined David Pipe from France.