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2018 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle tips – 7/1 and 16/1 tips for Sunday’s big handicap at Cheltenham

Jonathan Vine in Tips 16 Nov 2018
A wonderful view of the runners during the Greatwood Hurdle.

Our expert takes a look through the betting for the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle and provides readers with two tips for Cheltenham on Sunday.

The final day of Cheltenham Open Meeting is headlined by the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle, a handicap hurdle which was first staged at Cheltenham back in 1987. Some excellent hurdlers have enhanced their reputations by claiming victory in the Greatwood, with Rooster Booster and Sizing Europe going on to claim Champion Hurdle crowns a few months after scoring at Prestbury Park.

A strong field looks set to take part in this year’s race, with 28 names currently featuring on the ante-post list. Our expert takes a look through the field and highlights two horses for punters to back on Sunday.

Greatwood Handicap Hurdle Tip One

An interesting trend I stumbled across when analysing recent renewals of the Unibet Greatwood is that nine of the last ten winners had run in either the Supreme or the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. So, it seems, a classy second-season hurdler is the way to go in this handicap and the one who sticks out for me is WESTERN RYDER.

Warren Greatrex has always been adamant this gelding has bundles of ability, despite unseating Richard Johnson early on his jumping debut. Western Ryder then proved he could hurdle by beating 13 other rivals in a maiden at Chepstow, before coming to Cheltenham during their International Meeting and beating Lalor and Summerville Boy in another novice contest.

The form of that race was boosted significantly when Summerville Boy won the Supreme and Lalor scored in the equivalent race at Aintree. Western Ryder ran a decent enough race to place sixth behind Summerville Boy in the Supreme, a result he bettered over a longer trip at Aintree, crossing the line fifth behind Black Op in the Mersey.

Western Ryder may have came up short whenever he’s been pitched into Grade One company so far, but you get the feeling Greatrex’s charge is still progressing as a hurdler. The six-year-old has some strong form in the bag, he’s a course-and-distance winner and Richard Johnson is a three-time winner of the Greatwood. I fancy Western Ryder could get the victory.

Richard Johnson riding Western Ryder (right) beating Lalor (left) at Cheltenham last season.

Greatwood Handicap Hurdle Tip One

Mohaayed was my selection in the County Hurdle at the Festival and he could enjoy a return to Cheltenham. Storm Rising won well here at the Showcase Meeting and brings plenty of confidence into the Unibet Greatwood, but the one who appeals most as the weights, for me, is MIDNIGHT SHADOW.

Sue Smith was so impressed with her five-year-old's efforts during the winter, she handed Midnight Shadow an outing in the Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree. Danny Cook's mount was a little outclassed in Grade One company, but a decent seventh was the perfect prep-run for a tilt at the Scottish Champion Hurdle. Back in with the handicappers, Midnight Shadow looked much more comfortable and a wonderful round of jumping helped the 25/1 shot beat Claimantakinforgan to that prestigious prize.

Midnight Shadow ran a nice race on his reappearance, losing out by just a neck to a race-fit rival who was getting four pounds from the favourite at the weights. This will be his first ever outing around Cheltenham, but recent results show Midnight Shadow is progressing in the right direction and he could be a big danger to the market leaders.

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2018 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle tips – 7/1 and 16/1 tips for Sunday’s big handicap at Cheltenham

Our expert takes a look through the betting for Sunday’s Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle and provides readers with two tips for Cheltenham on Sunday 18th November.

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