Most of this year’s valuable Saturday afternoon handicap hurdles, particularly at Ascot and Sandown, have gone the way of horses more known as chasers reverting back to the smaller obstacles. In this Saturday’s Betfred Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown, there are a few that are similar types, and it is Consigliere that I believe is a really solid each-way bet at the current prices.
David Pipe’s Dan Breen has run well in such races this season, and Petit Robin, Araldur and Double Ross have all won valuable handicap hurdles since being rejuvenated by being asked to jump a lesser obstacle. I believe this trend is down to the extreme nature of conditions so far this jumps season. Precocious, younger, perhaps speedier improving hurdlers have been blunted by the prevailing heavy ground, and it is the more doughty, tough and experienced horses that have come to the fore.
Araldur and Double Ross run here, but have gone up in the handicap as a result of such wins, while Paul Nicholls, (who has won three of the last five renewals with chasing types,) runs Rangitoto who also is a returning chaser.
But is Consigliere – who has shown arguably close to career best form on his last two chase starts at Wincanton, (beaten by the revived Big Fella Thanks,) and a comfortable win at Ayr off a chase mark of 138 – that I am siding with.
He loves heavy ground, can run off a hurdle mark of just 128 compared to his revised chase mark of 145, and has run some good races at testing right handed tracks such as Ascot, Towcester and importantly at Sandown.
At the time of writing a jockey hasn’t been assigned to him, but I wouldn’t mind betting that Kieron Edgar, who has partnered him the last twice, will ride. If he did, it would enhance his chance further as 7lb claimer Kieron can reduce his weight even further. That said; if Tom Scudamore appeared next to Consigliere’s name, then it would clearly be no negative at all.
Ante-post prices had Consigliere at a best 10/1, but since Oscara Dara (forecast 4/1 favourite) hasn’t been declared, he is now available at 12/1. That looks an extremely good price to me.
Recommendation: Consigliere (each-way) – 12/1 (Betfred)