Follow The Sign In BoyleSports Hurdle
When sitting down to study Sunday’s mouthwatering 2m handicap that is the BoyleSports Hurdle (2.50pm), punters may need the odd trend or two to help whittle down the big field.
For instance, weight has proven a big pointer over the last 10 years, with each of the winners having lumped no more than 10st10lb, while each of the 10 were also from the 5-8yo age bracket…
Of the last 10 Boylesports Hurdle winners…
10 carried 10st10lb or lighter
10 were officially rated 128 or lower
10 were 5-8yo’s – others were 0-38
9 were non-favourites
9 arrived via Punchestown, Leopardstown or Fairyhouse
9 ran during the last 16-45 days
8 ran in a handicap last time
8 made the top two last time (8%) – others were 2-172 (1%)
Mrs J Harrington and W Mullins won it twice each
As can be seen, there are some informative stats, helping to point up several candidates for Sunday, including Nicky Henderson’s 7yo Snake Eyes, who currently heads the market at 7/1.
This lightly raced improver has already proven popular fro Sunday, having won a valuable Listed handicap at Sandown last month (2m, soft). The manner is which he won that day, under a canny Tony McCoy ride when only doing enough in the final stages, suggests he has bit more in hand of the handicapper, and his ability to handle mud will put him in good stead.
Henderson will have to defy recent history if raiding this pot, however, as the last British-trainer victor was back in 1997, which could see punters opting for the domestic runners, such as Noel Meade’s Waxies Dargle (8/1).
This 6yo has taken a while to find his feet, but finally showed he was a class act when easily landing a minor hurdle at Fairyhouse in November (2m, heavy). It was an eyecatching victory achieved virtually on the bridle, and it’s interesting to note that past winners of this race also arrived via Fairyhouse.
Talking of past winners, Mrs Jessica Harrington has trained the winner on two occasions since 2004, and enters Rock The World (12/1), who was over 1l behind Shantou Ed (12/1) in a decent 2m handicap at Leopardstown (2m, heavy) over Christmas. There may not be much between the pair once more, with Rock The World a pound better off.
That man Willie Mullins also won this prize twice during the last decade, and has Clondaw Warrior entered (10/1), an 8yo who disappointed when well fancied for Ascot’s Ladbroke prior to Christmas (2m, good to soft).
He has a bit to prove following that, though Mullins does have several hurdlers near the top of the weights, including McKinley (14/1), who won a Grade 1 novice over 2m4f earlier this month and has a touch of class.
A mention also goes to Mullins’ Lucky Bridle (10/1), who despite being allocated 11st1lb, is 2-4 over hurdles and was an easy winner of a four-runner hurdle when last seen 70 days ago. It will be interesting to see how the market speaks about Mullins’ runners come Sunday.
Of the remainder, then Kevin Prendergast’s Katie T (12/1), hasn’t had much racing in this sphere and was third in a valuable handicap 50 days ago,
…while Oliver McKiernan’s Follow The Sign (20/1), has a dangerous low weight and arrives having just lost out in a 2m2f handicap here on St Stephen’s/Boxing Day.
As expected in such a competitive affair there are many with a chance, but one with an ideal profile is Follow The Sign, who has form over further but gives the impression this step back to a testing 2m could bring out the best in him.