Bangor Preview: Henderson’s Hyden hard to beat
Kentucky Hyden has some top class form to his name last season and looks potentially a cut above his rivals in the 2m 4f handicap hurdle at Bangor today (3.00).
The Nicky Henderson trained gelding ran out a facile 33 length winner on debut at Sandown and went on to finish runner-up in his next four starts.
Those runs came in in Grade 1 and Grade 2 contests and included and excellent 3 1/4 length second to Tiger Roll in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
That form sets a clear standard in this class 2 handicap hurdle, and makes Kentucky Hyden’s current mark of 146 look very exploitable.
Although the four-year-old was slightly disappointing when last seen in action at the Punchestown Festival, that run came at the end of a long season and this race represents a big drop in class.
Kentucky Hyden’s win at Sandown also proved that he can go well fresh, and his handler is in good form and has an excellent strike rate of just under 24% with his runners at the venue since 2000.
Earlier on the card, trainer Jonjo O’Neill holds claims of landing a double for leading owner JP McManus with Vujiyama and Dursey Sound.
Vujiyama runs in the 3m handicap chaser (1.30) and is turned out quickly after unseating his rider three days ago at Ffos Las when in a clear lead and travelling well.
The five-year-old had previously looked miles ahead of the handicapper when making all and jumping well to win easing down by five lengths at Southwell, and granted a clear round is going to be hard to beat.
Dursey Sound is not the easiest horse to catch right but has won at the track and looks fairly treated on the pick of his form in the feature race oin the card, the Anne Duchess of Westminster Memorial Handicap Chase (2.00).
The six-year-old was not at his best last time out but had previously finsihed a fine runner-up to Mart Lane in a competitive class 1 Listed Handicap Chase tr Market Rasen.
Duresy Sound is able to race off just 2lb higher in this lower grade class 2 contest, and that gives the son of Milan a big shout at the weights.
1.00: Gus Macrae
1.30: Vujiyama (NB)
2.00: Dursey Sound
2.30: Knight Bachelor
3.00: Kentucky Hyden (NAP)
4.00: Racing Europe