Welsh Champion Hurdle preview: Clyne weighted to collect in Ffos Las feature

14th September 2021

This 2019 Welsh Champion Hurdle preview features Clyne (left) at Ffos Las

Clyne has a fine record at Ffos Las and looks worth siding with at 5/1 with SportNation to further enhance it with victory in the feature race there on Saturday, the 2m Welsh Champion Hurdle (15:15).

This Evan Williams trained nine-year-old has won twice and been placed once in three starts over course and distance.

That place effort came in the 2017 running of this contest when he went down all guns blazing when beaten half-a-length into second by The New One off a mark of 147.

Clyne went on to land a competitive class 2 handicap at Uttoxeter off 145, before rounding off the campaign with a fine third to L’Ami Serge in the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle.

The son of Hernando has just four starts last season and produced his best effort first time-up when second to Unowhatimeanharry in the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Ascot.

Although no match for the easy 2 1/2 lengths winner, Clyne stuck to the task well and it was a fine run against a top class rival off an official rating of 152.

He is now able to race in this class 2 limited handicap off a mark of 148. That is just 2lb higher than when last victorious and makes Clyne look well-treated on the pick of his form.

Soft ground also holds no fears for the gelding and his four runs in the grade have resulted in two wins and two placed efforts.

So, taking everything into account, Clyne looks to hold leading claims of going one better than when runner-up in this two years ago and makes plenty of appeal at the odds on offer.

Le Prezien a key player for in-form Nicholls

Ditcheat handler Paul Nicholls has his team in red-hot form and his sole representative is Le Prezien, a 6/1 shot with BetVictor.

This JP McManus owned seven-year-old is better known as a chaser these days, but now switches back to the smaller obstacles off a potentially lenient mark.

The gelding was a very smart juvenile hurdler in 2015-16, winning three of his eight starts and finishing a cracking 2 1/4 lengths runner-up to Yorkhill in an Aintree Grade 1.

Le Prezien then went chasing after that and has developed into a really useful handicapper. He has won three times over the larger obstacles.

This son of Blue Brasil enjoyed his finest hour in the last of those when asserting after the last to readily beat Gino Trial by 4 1/2 lengths in the 22-runner Grand Annual Chase at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival off a mark of 150.

Le Prezien got put up to 157 for that taking victory, but is able to race off 9lb lower over hurdles.

Off a rating of 148 he could be very well-in at the weights, especially judged on his staying on second to Silver Streak in the Welsh Champion Hurdle 12 months ago off 3lb higher.

As Le Prezien was attempting to give the winner 12lb that day, in hindsight it was an impossible task.

That’s because Silver Streak went on to finish third in the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle at this year’s Cheltenham Festival off an official rating of 156.

Nicholls, who is operating at a 30 per cent strike rate in the last 14 days at the time of writing, also has a good record in the race, having won it three times courtesy of Vol Solitaire (2002), Saphir Du Rheu (2014) and Silsol (2015).

Coole Cody the each-way value in Welsh Champion Hurdle

In a competitive renewal where a case can be made for the majority of the 11 runners, the Martin Blake trained Coole Cody looks nicely treated on the pick of his form and appeals each-way at the 22/1 on offer with Boylesports.

This eight-year-old enjoyed a terrific 2017 when winning four times.

After landing a class 5 at Wincanton off an official rating of 123, the son of Dubai Destination went on to round off the campaign with success in a competitive class 3 16-runner affair at Cheltenham off 136..

Coole Cody made all and stayed on strongly after the last to readily beat Mischievous Max by three lengths on soft ground.

Although he failed to get his head in front in six starts last season, the gelding showed he retained plenty of ability when a fine nine-length second of 16 to Lord Napier in a Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Sandown off his current rating of 137.

The form of that race reads well in relation to this and Coole Cody is now 8lb lower in the weights than at the start of last season.

He also has a decent record fresh, and won four times and been placed on four occasions in 15 starts on soft ground.

This track also suits front-runners, so it would be no surprise to see Coole Cody outrun his Welsh Champion Hurdle odds and hit the frame under an attacking ride from Sean Bowen.

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