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Leamington Novices' Hurdle - 10th January, 2015

Warren Greatrex's Shantou Bob was unable to maintain his unbeaten record when narrowly edged out by Vyta Du Roc in the Winter Novices' Hurdle last month, but the classy novice will aim to get back to winning ways on Saturday afternoon with victory in the Leamington Novices' Hurdle.

One of the premier trials for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, Greatrex's raider is 33/1 to follow in the footsteps of The New One, who managed to notch this race and the Neptune two years ago, and if Shantou Bob can replicate that fine Graded performance at Sandown last time out then he has to be the one to beat.

Philip Hobbs will saddle Alisier D'irlande who has only been seen once on a UK racecourse and is sure to improve for his decent third place finish behind the smart Arpege D'alene at Ascot, so he has to be considered as a leading danger in this 2m 5f contest, which is a feature on Classic Chase day.

Flintham is seeking a hat-trick of wins for Mark Bradstock, but this will be a whole lot tougher than any assignment he has faced so far, whilst Dan Skelton's Three Musketeers was a winner last time out and is another that will step into the unknown in this Grade 2 renewal.

Of the others, Ben Case's Ballagh is a model of consistency and was second at Newbury last time out, with the likes of Red Tortue and Anteros adding significant depth to what could be a comfortable victory for the red-hot favourite from Greatrex's yard.

Latest Betting for 2015 Leamington Novices' Hurdle

11/8 Shantou Bob

5/1 Three Musketeers

7/1 Alisier D'irlande

7/1 Ballagh

10/1 Anteros

10/1 Flintham

10/1 Red Tortue

16/1 Rons Dream

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Leamington Novices' Hurdle History

The Leamington Novices' Hurdle is a Grade Two race run at Warwick over two miles, five furlongs for horses aged four years or older.

Established in 2002, this contest has attracted some of the leading staying novice hurdlers from its outset and after Classified won the inaugural running for Martin Pipe, the race has gone from strength to strength.

It is a race often aimed at by trainers who are maybe looking towards the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival the following season and in 2004, a certain Inglis Drever took this prize before becoming a national hunt legend.

After winning the 2004 Leamington Novices' Hurdle at 8/15 favourite, Howard Johnson's star then went on to be the leading staying hurdler and managed to lift the World Hurdle crown in 2005.

However, he was not finished with his Cheltenham Festival wins and during his career he amassed three World Hurdle victories as well as a plethora of other Grade One titles during an illustrious career.

Another classy winner of the race came in 2008, when the Mark Bradstock-trained Carruthers went on to bag glory before becoming a revelation over fences.� Hacing switched to the chasing game, Carruthers was a regular performer in the leading staying chases and in 2011 eventaully bagged a big pot by winning the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

Yet again, this just emphasises that this race can often unearth future national hunt stars and is definitely a race to keep an eye on for future winners.

Recent Winners of Leamington Novices' Hurdle

  • 2002 - Classified
  • 2003 - No Race
  • 2004 - Inglis Drever
  • 2005 - No Refuge
  • 2006 - Ben Be King
  • 2007 - Labelthou
  • 2008 - Carruthers
  • 2009 - No Race
  • 2010 - No Race
  • 2011 - Court In Motion
  • 2012 - Cotton Mill
  • 2013 - The New One
  • 2014 - Deputy Dan
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