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Greatwood Handicap Hurdle - 16th November, 2014

Nicky Henderson's Vaniteux was a fine third behind Vautour in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Seven Barrows inmate could return to Prestbury Park on November 16 to compete in a cracking renewal of the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.

He shaped with real promise in that event and Henderson could well have him pencilled in as a potential Champion Hurdle contender come March and he is one of the more eye-catching entries for a race won last year by the David Pipe-trained Dell 'Arca.

David Pipe's Baltimore Rock was a fine winner of the Imperial Cup last season before finishing fourth in an Aintree Grade Two and he will now return to the handicap sphere and has to be respected, whilst Kentucky Hyden was a fine second in the Triumph Hurdle and will now aim to take on the big boys.

Philip Hobbs has been sparkling in major races this season and he is set to unleash Garde La Victoire, who will come on for his third place finish behind Hawk High at Aintree, whilst Willie Mullins could send over Daneking as he looks to bag another notable victory on British soil.

Of the others, Goodwood Mirage is gradually taking to obstacles and will be a popular selection amongst punters, with the likes of former winner Olofi, Blue Heron and Exitas adding more depth to what will be a devilishly difficult betting heat for punters.

Latest Betting for 2014 Greatwood Handicap Hurdle

10/3 Vaniteux

8/1 Baltimore Rock

9/1 Goodwood Mirage

9/1 Daneking

10/1 Clondaw Warrior

12/1 Blue Heron

12/1 Garde La Victoire

12/1 Hammersly Lake

14/1 Roman Flight

14/1 Regal Encore

14/1 Exitas

16/1 Pearl Swan

16/1 Pine Castle

20/1 BAR

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Greatwood Handicap Hurdle History

The Greatwood Handicap Hurdle is a Grade Three race run at Cheltenham over two miles and 110 yards for horses aged four years or older and is widely regarded as a trial for the Champion Hurdle.

Run at the start of the national hunt season, it usually attracts an ultra-competitive field as trainers look to hand their potential hurdling stars the perfect race before embarking on a Champion Hurdle quest.

Often seeing the classy juveniles step up to take on their elders, the Greatwood also atttacts some proven performers at Graded level and in 2004 its status was enhanced from Listed to Grade Three level.

In 2002, Rooster Booster was an emphatic nine length winner of the race after he stormed to success earlier in the year in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.  It was just the beginning for Philip Hobbs' likeable grey as he managed to use his Greatwood win as a stepping stone for championship glory as he came back to Prestbury Park in 2003 and won the Champion Hurdle.

Detroit City was another classy winner of the Greatwood for Hobbs in 2006 and like his stablemate Rooster Booster headed into the race on the back of festival glory after winning the Triumph Hurdle.  He then went on to win another Champion Hurdle trial in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham, but failed to bag the hat-trick when disappointing in the Champion itself on the opening day of the festival.

Sizing Europe eventually made his name over the larger obstacles winning the Arkle Challenge Trophy in 2010 before winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2011 after winning the 2007 Greatwood.

More recently, both Khyber Kim and Menorah have carried a lot of weight when bagging Greatwood success, but both just came up short in the Champion Hurdle later on in the season.

Recent Winners of Greatwood Handicap Hurdle

  • 2000 - Hulysse Royal
  • 2001 - Westender
  • 2002 - Rooster Booster
  • 2003 - Rigmarole
  • 2004 - Accordion Etoile
  • 2005 - Lingo
  • 2006 - Detroit City
  • 2007 - Sizing Europe
  • 2008 - Numide
  • 2009 - Khyber Kim
  • 2010 - Menorah
  • 2011 - Brampour
  • 2012 - Olofi
  • 2013 - Dell 'Arca
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