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Stats strong for Vaniteux in Greatwood Hurdle

Ante-post favourite Vaniteux has to shoulder top weight in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday, November 15th, but stats suggest the Nicky Henderson trained gelding may well be up to the task.

With a whole host of established horses coming out of the contest the weights have risen by almost a stone and Vaniteux will carry 11st 12lb.

However, class is a key factor that has shone through in the contest over the years with top weights winning four of the last 12 runnings and finishing in the frame in five of the last seven years.

The lightly-raced Vaniteux showed that he was a class act when a fine third of 18 to Vautour in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival on just his fourth start over the obstacles, and also has other things in his favour as far as the stats are concerned.

Five-year-olds have much the best record winning eight of the last 15 renewals, and eight of the last 12 winners have been officially rated 140 or higher.

Vaniteux is a five-year-old already rated 147, so ticks both those boxes, and remains unexposed and open to stacks of improvement.

It is very hard to pick holes in Vaniteux’s profile for the contest and son of Voix Du Nord looks a worthy 7/2 favourite with Coral to land the spoils.

Other notable entries are Baltimore Rock, Clondaw Warrior and Garde La Victoire.

Baltimore Rock (10/1) is trained by David Pipe who saddled Dell’ Arca to win the race 12 months ago.

The five-year-old progressed well throughout last season, landing the valuable Imperial Cup at Sandown before finishing a solid fourth to Josses Hill in a Grade 2 contest at Aintree when last seen in action.

The son of Tiger Hill comes from a stable in good form and a big run looks on the cards.

Clondaw Warrior (5/1) hails from the all-conquering Willie Mullins’ yard and spearheads the Irish challenge.

Ireland have won the race twice in the last nine years, and saddled three of the first six home last year.

Clondaw Warrior is an unexposed type who landed the valuable November Handicap on the level at Leopardstown last month and looks on a handy mark off 115 if translating that form to the obstacles.

Garde La Victoire (12/1) is trained by Philip Hobbs who likes to target the contest with his better hurdlers and has won the race three times courtesy of Rooster Booster, Detroit City and Menorah.

The five-year-old has won four of his eights starts over hurdles, and they include a victory at the track.

Garde La Victoire also shaped really well when third on seasonal reappearance at Aintree last month, and that should have put him spot on to make a bold bid to enhance his trainer’s good record in the race.