The Relkeel Hurdle (15:05 Cheltenham) is a grade-2 hurdle run at Cheltenham over 20-furlongs and 10 hurdles.
It has been won by some serious horses in recent years, including Rock On Ruby and More Of That, and this year’s renewal is set to be contested by a high-quality 8-runner field.
Cole Harden 3/1
He was third last year behind Rock On Ruby on good to soft ground, but would ideally prefer better ground. He’s been beaten the last 4 times he’s run on soft ground or worse, though his stable is in decent form with 2 winners from 6 runners over the festive period.
Officially the highest-rated horse in the line-up, and was sent off favourite to beat Cole Harden and Thistlecraft on his seasonal debut at Newbury. He’s another who would prefer better ground, and might not be at his peak until the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals. Henderson stable 6/13 over Christmas.
Bobs Worth 12/1
It’s amazing to think that the 2013 Gold Cup winner is unbeaten over hurdles, and Nicky Henderson is seriously thinking about the World Hurdle for the 11-year-old. He certainly looked impressive when beating Simonsig over hurdles on his seasonal comeback in very similar conditions.
Lil Rockfeller 25/1
Won a listed handicap hurdle off a mark of 146 last-time, but that still leaves him with quite a bit to find on ratings. Also beaten on his only course start, whilst yet to prove he stays this far.
Top Notch 5/2
Yet to be out of the first 2 in 6 runs over 2-miles, and Nicky Henderson has expressed that he thinks that a trip and heavy ground may well bring out the best in him. 5-year-olds have a decent record in the race.
Aurore D’estruval 25/1
First run for trainer Rebecca Curtis, but needs to find 20lb to be competitive.
Camping Ground 8/1
Looked like he could be good on first two starts in this country on soft ground, but not looked so good since on good to soft. May relish the ground today, but the big worry is his stable’s form as they’ve not had a winner since November.
Put up 20lb after his first two wins, but hacked-up again from a decent yardstick. Raised a further 11lb, and hard to know how much improvement he could still have to come. Stable a little quiet over Christmas.
Nicky Henderson, who has won 3 of the last 6 renewals, clouds the issue by saddling 3 runners. However, it’s the outsider of the 3 Bobs Worth who makes most appeal at the prices, as he bids to maintain an unbeaten record over hurdles.
Bobs Worth @ 12/1 (Various)