Harambe our big hope for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury

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February 7

Storm Ciara is due to hit Newbury this week-end, but the good news from the weathermen is that the rain and 70mph winds are not expected to arrive on our home course until after racing on Saturday.

Harambe is our major runner in the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle, and Alan is hoping for another classy performance from this big, scopey individual.

He said:”Harambe did us proud when, despite a late setback, he won the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November in great style.

“We then aimed him at the big handicap hurdle at Ascot before Christmas, but on the run up to the race he wasn’t right after being treated with antibiotics for a leg infection, so we pulled him out and since then this valuable prize has been his prime target.

“Harambe is now 7lb higher but he is fresh and well and  I’d be hopeful that there could be more to come from him.”

We are also strongly-represented in the big race over fences, the Game Spirit Chase, with Sceau Royal having a fourth crack at the mighty Altior.

Alan added:”The more the ground improves the better Sceau Royal will run, and he will also be suited by a return to a left-handed track. He disappointed first time out in the Tingle Creek at Sandown but ran much better in the Desert Orchid at Kempton over Christmas, and he schooled well on Monday morning.”

Alan plans to discard the headgear with Alsa Mix in the mares novice chase at Exeter on Sunday. He said:”Alsa Mix has worn a hood for all eight races she has had for me, but she is now very relaxed and doesn’t look to need it any more.

“She was second at Wetherby last time, but I’m hopeful she can improve on that as she might be slightly better going right-handed, while the step up to three miles could also suit her.”