Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 16:49 21/11/2014
The Philip Hobbs stable were in irresistible form at last weekend's Open meeting at Cheltenham but one strongly fancied contender who failed to do the business for the Somerset handler was Cesarewitch winner Big Easy in the Listed Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Hurdle, the seven-year-old finding the David Pipe-trained Katkeau two and a half lengths too good at Prestbury Park after being sent off the well backed 11-4 favourite.
The pair are set to lock horns once again on Saturday afternoon in Haydock's Betfair " This Is Play " " Fixed Brush " Handicap Hurdle at 2.25 and the mount of Richard Johnson ( replacing last week's pilot Micheal Nolan ) is fancied to gain revenge on his reopposing conqueror at the 8-1 generally available, including with Betfair Sportsbook who are paying out on the first five places. The Ransom O'War gelding will be meeting the Pipe horse on 5lb better terms at the Lancashire track and can turn the tables on the winner who may find this race coming a little too quick having been off the track for twenty one months prior to his comeback last Saturday.
A maximum field of 17 go to post for the three mile £80k contest with top weight Volnay De Thaix heading the betting at a general 4-1 after Nicky Henderson's gelding ran out a most impressive winner on his reappearance, toying with the opposition for a comfortable victory at Huntingdon last month. A 5lb penalty puts the five-year-old 9lb well in compared to his new mark but the handicapper may have overestimated that performance plus the son of Secret Singer has to prove himself over this kind of trip.
Irish challenger Dara Tango is an interesting runner for shrewd trainer Tony Martin and the seven-year-old showed his wellbeing when beating ( got the race in the stewards room after going down by a nose ) a Sir Mark Prescott improver on the flat at Catterick in October and could be the best of the bigger priced runners at the 16-1 available with Ladbrokes.