The Betfair Price Rush Hurdle is one of seven races set to be run at Haydock on Saturday. Run over two miles, the Betfair Price Rush Hurdle is a class 2 event and this year’s renewal is set to be a competitive affair with leading trainers Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson both represented.
Irving is the current ante-post favourite for the race on the back off a winning seasonal reappearance in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton two weeks ago. Since enjoying an impressive start to hurdling, Irving has since struggled to make his mark, with victory in last year’s Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle being his best effort to date. Trainer Paul Nicholls does still hold ambitions that he could be a Champion Hurdle contender but at present he does not appear to have the class or ability to reach that level.
Top Notch enjoyed a successful first season to his hurdling career, winning three juvenile hurdles before finishing second by a neck to stable companion Peace And Co in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Top Notch does have the ability to become a major player in the hurdling ranks but to win on Saturday on his seasonal debut seems like a tall ask. Henderson is also set to be represented by Sign of a Victory.
Melodic Rendezvous finished second behind Irving at Wincanton and now meets him three pounds worse off for a seven length defeat. At nine-years of age, Melodic Rendezvous has won eight races in total and over £200,000 on prize money, six of these races on heavy ground. With the going at Haydock set to be heavy on Saturday, the price on Melodic Rendezvous has shortened over the last 48 hours and it may well continue to do so with more rain forecast.
Trainer Dan Skelton has been in good form recently and he is set to saddle Fou Et Sage on Saturday. A winner on heavy going in France at Auteuil, Fou Et Sage was last of eight runners on his British debut at Cheltenham, beaten 32 length by the winner Devilment. Although likely to improve for that run, it would be a shock if he had the ability to win on Saturday even receiving weight from the likes of Irving and Top Notch.
Another trainer in from recently is John Ferguson and he is set to be triple handed in Saturday’s race with Sea Lord, Purple Bay and Commissioned. His best chance may well lie with Purple Bay, a progressive six-year old who has five career victories. Campaigned in class 1 and class 2 contests recently, Purple Bay is dropping down in grade and may well manage a placed effort if handling the forecasted heavy ground.
Irving is the current 2.50 (6/4) favourite for Saturday’s race with Top Notch 2.75 (7/4), Melodic Rendezvous 5.5 (9/2), Fou Et Sage 13 (12/1), Purple Bay 15 (14/1) and Commissioned, Sign of a Victory and Sea Lord all 21 (20/1). The horse racing top for Saturday’s Betfair Price Rush Hurdle is Purple Bay each-way at 15 (14/1).
By: Scott McGlynn