Relkeel Hurdle Betting Tips

Betting.org experts say Wholestone is a worthy favourite in their Relkeel Hurdle betting tips to win the Grade 2 New Year’s Day contest over 2m 4f at Cheltenham again. This is because of his fine course form at the Cotswolds venue. Clyne is feared most at the weights for in-form trainer Evan Williams, however, and for the way he has shaped since stepped up to longer trips. Midnight Shadow is the young, improving northern raider in the six-runner field and an each-way alternative to consider. Our Relkeel Hurdle betting tips preview follows with further details on all these horses.

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Odds
6/4
Selection
Wholestone
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Odds
11/2
Danger
Clyne
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Odds
7/1
E/W
Midnight Shadow
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Wholestone can bounce back in Relkeel Hurdle once again

Wholestone is on a 50 per cent win rate at Cheltenham and one of his four victories from eight career starts at the Cotswolds venue came in the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle over 2m 4f last year. He is back to defend his crown on Tuesday (15:10) for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, and looks a worthy favourite to do so.

The eight-year-old is a course specialist who has never failed to make the first three herem and similarly disappointed in the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle last December and last time out. There just seems to be something about Newbury that doesn’t suit Wholestone, but he is a different animal altogether when racing around Cheltenham.

After showing progressive form as a novice in staying hurdle races in 2016-17, he took aim at open company last term and needed a few runs to resume winning ways. Wholestone found his groove again on heavy going in this 12 months ago when produced to lead on the bit by regular jockey Daryl Jacob and driven out to score by 3 1/4 lengths from Agrapart.

Although that mudlark then reversed the form when the pair stepped back up to 3m for the Cleeve Hurdle on Festival Trials Day, Wholestone was 3lb worse off at the weights with that one. He then filled the same spot of third behind Penhill that he did in the Albert Bartlett the previous when beaten just five lengths in the Stayers’ Hurdle.

Course and Aintree form strong

The runner-up Supasundae is a great advert for that form, having also finished second in three of his next four Grade 1 starts and won the Punchestown Champion Hurdle when dropped back to 2m. Wholestone was also beaten five lengths when chasing home the ill-fated Identity Thief in the Liverpool Hurdle at the Grand National meeting back in April and then perhaps had one race too many when a distant third in Sandown’s Select Hurdle.

Connections plotted another tilt at Wetherby’s West Yorkshire Hurdle for his return to action, but swerved ground that was approaching the firm side of good. Wholestone did belatedly make his reappearance in a class 2 hurdle at Aintree in November when running out a 2 3/4 lengths winner over a small but select field like this.

While he was then out of sorts again at Newbury, he demonstrated 12 months ago that the Berkshire venue just isn’t for him. An official mark of 158 is the highest in the line-up, but given what Wholestone has achieved he should be capable of giving weight to half of his rivals.

With proven course and distance form in the book, he looks a worthy favourite. Wholestone is fully expected to resume winning ways in this just like he did last year and, with the only negative being handler Twiston-Davies’ current form, he is thus the main selection in our Relkeel Hurdle betting tips.

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Clyne feared most

Evan Williams ends 2018 on a 20 per cent strike rate in the last 14 days and sends Clyne out in search of the New Year spoils. This nine-year-old has shaped really nicely when stepped up in trip, so looks one that will give Wholestone plenty to think about.

Clyne ran a string of solid races last season and, although only getting his head in front once off top-weight in a Uttoxeter handicap, he is bred to get this trip. As he’s by French sire Hernando and a Nebos mare, it was no surprise to see him stick to the task well when headed approaching the last and finish a 6 3/4 lengths third to L’Ami Serge in the Aintree Hurdle.

He was in-behind the useful and versatile Supasundae in that final outing of last term of this trip and pulled a further six lengths clear of the fourth home. Clyne also has the re-opposing Cyrus Darius well-held on that Grade 1 form, as we was 15 lengths down on him in fifth.

After chasing home Unowhatimeanharry on reappearance and beaten just 2 1/2 lengths on his attempt over 3m, he races in this off an unchanged mark of 152. Clyne is also in receipt of weight from all but one rival, the aforementioned Cyrus Darius, but meeting again off the same terms as Aintree is no problem.

In fact, when you adjust official figures to factor in the 6lb he gets from Wholestone and others, there’s nothing to choose between him and the favourite. Clyne is thus respected, but lacks the proven Cheltenham form of that one, so siding with the favourite is thus preferred.

Midnight Shadow a possible alternative

Of the remainder, Thomas Campbell looks to have a lot to do at the weights now switching back from fences, Old Guard is highly exposed and Cyrus Darius has a mountain to climb to reverse previous form with Clyne. Midnight Shadow is the young improver in this field, so looks a possible each-way alternative to Clyne and Wholestone if either don’t deliver.

Trained by Sue Smith, the six-year-old progressed throughout last season to take the Grade 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr’s Grand National meeting. Midnight Shadow found plenty for pressure in the final half-furlong to hold on and beat Claimantakinforgan by 1 1/4 lengths.

He had also run several solid races in defeat, notably when second at Listed level and beaten a neck at Haydock, and later when seventh in the Grade 1 Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree. Midnight Shadow has had three runs this season and, although disappointing in the second of those here in the Greatwood Handicap back in November, resumed winning ways when stepped up to this trip back on Merseyside.

As he confirmed previous form with Ch’tibello despite being much, much worse off at the weights, Midnight Shadow looks an unexposed and still improving sort over intermediate distances. With many against him vulnerable to such a type, he completes our Relkeel Hurdle betting tips as one at bigger odds to consider each-way.

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