The focus is on the hurdlers on Monday evening at Newturf virtual racecourse with the two feature betting races both being from this code. Both races have a competitive look and each could be interesting from a betting perspective.
The Ucello II Hurdle is a Grade 1 marathon for 7 year old horses and features some of the highest quality equine athletes currently in training. A case could be made for a number of them but with Boulkava and Jolie Bouteille likely to want more cut, we can concentrate on a group of four. This quartet is comprised of the Menne pair, Uranie des Muraille and Univers de Murailles, Bitter Tool and fast ground specialist, Eclair Devil.
Eclair Devil produced his best form when winning the Al Capone II Hurdle on good ground last season, where he had Bitter Tool and Uranie des Murailles behind. Conditions will be even more to his liking on Monday but even so, I believe he will struggle to confirm this form over this longer distance. There is probably little between the Menne pair of Uranie des Muraille and Univers de Murailles with the latter appearing to be the first string on jockey bookings. I narrowly prefer Uranie but both are likely to feature prominently and should definitely come into forecast calculations. The one that can beat them all though is Bitter Tool. She is the one in the field with the highest cruising speed, her win in the Starluck Hurdle demonstrates he can handle the fast ground at the highest level and while it may be a close run thing, I’m expecting her to add to an already impressive list of honours.
The Princeful Hurdle is another tight looking affair with little between the leading four or five. A couple of these have changed hands recently and that could be key in determining the outcome here. The first of those is El Dorado and this classy colt has possibly the strongest form in the book. The suspicion is though that he would be happier on softer ground. Despite being the worst-named horse ever, Ex Fruit Caladois Ex has plenty of talent and this one has shown by far his best form on a sound surface and should go very close. Another likely to be at home is Koblenz. This speedy colt performed with merit when fifth in the Breeders’ Cup and also when runner-up in the Hatton’s Grace. He is capable enough on his day but there are some concerns over stamina limitations with this one. Hisabaat finished just in front of Koblenz in the Breeders’ Cup and also has form which matches him closely with Ex Fruit Caladois Ex. This one looked booked for big things early on in his career and has been mostly disappointing since but he has recently changed hands, has conditions in his favour and the blinkers are deployed. He can start fulfilling his early promise for his new owner.
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Bitter Tool (Ucello II Hurdle) to win. Hisabaat (Princeful Hurdle) to win. Combine with Koblenz, Ex Fruit Caladois Ex and Astrador de Kerser for the exacta.