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Tolworth Hurdle - 11th January, 2014

Willie Mullins's Upazo has progressed immeasurably since the switch to hurdles and the exciting national hunt prospect will make his first start on British soil on Saturday afternoon in the Tolworth Hurdle that has be rescheduled to make up part of Kempton Park's Lanzarote Hurdle day.

We are all set for a cracking little renewal of this Grade One that is often used as a springboard to the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in March and Upazo showed when beating Fosters Cross by 10 lengths at Fairyhouse that he is a potentially top class horse in the making and sets the standard.

However, he has also been handed an entry in the Slaney Novice Hurdle in Ireland and if he doesn't make the trip over from the Irish Sea then punters may look to David Pipe's The Liquidator, who was superb when running away with a Cheltenham contest in November.

He may have been flattered that day when beating Sea Lord by 15 lengths, but he made it a real test from the outset and he could look to do that again on Saturday afternoon and may take advantage of what will be testing conditions on rain-softened ground.

Nicky Henderson's Josses Hill may have only had one run over timber, but he impressed when winning at Newbury and is sure to improve again for that outing and has be handed a lot of respect from the star-studded Seven Barrows stable.

Prince Siegfried adds more depth to the event and was a faller in the Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle last time out at Ascot, where he was set to fight it out with the classy Irving in the closing stages, whilst Martin Keighley's Creepy and Philip Hobbs's Garde La Victoire add great depth to what is a corking renewal of the contest.

Latest Betting for 2014 Tolworth Hurdle

5/2 The Liquidator

5/2 Upazo

5/1 Garde La Victoire

11/2 Josses Hill

8/1 Prince Siegfried

10/1 Royal Boy

16/1 Creepy

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Tolworth Hurdle History

The Tolworth Hurdle is a Grade One novice race run at Sandown Park over two miles, 110 yards for horses aged four years or older.

Trainers have long aimed their top class novice hurdlers for this contest as they look to bring their inmates through the national hunt ranks and this race has often thrown up some impressive winners.

Ferdy Murphy's French Holly was an exciting novice heading to Sandown and he duly stormed to victory in the 1998 renewal before going on to the Cheltenham Festival to win the 1998 Royal & Sun Alliance Novices' Hurdle (now Neptune Investment Hurdle) months later, before finishing third to the mighty Istabraq in the 1999 Champion Hurdle.

Monsignor headed to Sandown in 2000 as the reigning Champion Bumper winner and he beat former triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate comfortably in the Tolworth Hurdle before emulating French Holly's achievements by bagging the Royal & Sun Alliance Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival the same year.

More recently, Paul Nicholls has had an excellent training record in the Tolworth Hurdle and since the turn of the Millennium the Ditcheat trainer has saddled four winners.

Thisthatandtother was a classy winner of the 2003 renewal, whilst he bagged a hat-trick of wins between 2006 and 2008 with Noland, Silverburn and Breedsbreeze grabbing victory.

Recent Winners of Tolworth Hurdle

  • 2000 - Monsignor
  • 2001 - Iznogoud
  • 2002 - Miros
  • 2003 - Thisthatandtother
  • 2004 - Lingo
  • 2005 - Marcel
  • 2006 - Noland
  • 2007 - Silverburn
  • 2008 - Breedsbreeze
  • 2009 - No Race
  • 2010 - No Race
  • 2011 - Minella Class
  • 2012 - Captain Conan
  • 2013 - Melodic Rendezvous

 

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