All eyes will be on the Challow Hurdle at Newbury

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Monday December 28

What better way to finish 2015 than with another Grade 1 celebration, and we have high hopes that Label des Obeaux can deliver the goods in the prestigious Challow Hurdle at Newbury tomorrow. It’s a small but select field, and we should learn a lot, though Alan made the point in his Weekender column last week that £40,000 for a Grade 1 is simply not enough.

Assessing Label des Obeaux’s chance, Alan said:”He is only a four-year-old, but he was impressive when landing his Grade 2 at Sandown and he seems to handle soft ground. His work at home in early autumn was awful, but he then ran well at Ascot before delivering in style at Sandown just 13 days later, so we hope he might improve still further.”

Assessing the chance of our other runners, Alan added:”Willoughby Hedge makes his long-awaited comeback in the Limited novices’ handicap chase, having been off 783 days following leg trouble. He is a big, scopey horse and a proper stayer in the making, and we are looking forward to finally being able to get him over fences.

“We also have William H Bonney in the introductory hurdle. He ran well in a couple of bumpers and then won nicely over hurdles at Plumpton. He is a progressive sort, so, despite his penalty, we hope he runs well.

“We also have three runners up at Doncaster. The ground there dries out better than most, so it looks the right place for Ziga Boy, who ran well at Fontwell last time and has been dropped 3lb for the three-mile handicap chase.

“We had hoped to run Pemba in that Listed Mares Hurdle at Aintree last month, but she got ringworm so that plan had to be scrapped. She is fine now and runs in the maiden hurdle, and she is a filly we like.

“Our Town Moor raid starts with Angel Face in the opening mares handicap hurdle. She bumped into a smart one in The Organist last time, but she produced another good run and is going the right way.”