Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Double Handful

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Double Handful

Article excerpt

Five more fun horse racing facts you never wanted to know. John Shaw's racing betting column in association with 10/1 BET OF THE DAY WITH 24 runners declared only a fool would be confident of picking the winner of the most valuable and competitive handicap hurdle of the season so far, the Betfair Hurdle. The great German poet Heinrich Heine once observed: "There are more fools in the world than there are people," and even though I'm not entirely sure what he meant by that there's a good chance he's referring to people betting on races like these. Nicky Henderson has a great record in this contest with five victories. He has five runners today and it doesn't help matters that I fancy at least three of them. In fact, I'd fancy all five if the ground was a bit firmer. Most will see top weight Jenkins as the Henderson horse with the best claim of victory. His front-running tactics have bagged the six-year-old wins at Kempton and Ascot but I'm not sure he'll find grabbing the lead as easy a task this afternoon. Lough Derg Spirit is another Henderson charge who enjoys deploying front-running tactics, so it will be fascinating to see if the two take each other on in the early stages. Charli Parcs and Verdana Blue would probably prefer a sounder surface and, with rain forecast, I much prefer the chances of KAYF GRACE. She's an unexposed type having seen off nine rivals in a race at Kempton over two miles in December on soft ground last time out. When collared by a group of journalists, myself included, Henderson declared that he thought Kayf Grace had a "great chance of victory", before quickly changing the subject. I garnered the opinion that he has big hopes for Kaya Grace and is expecting a big run this afternoon. A non-Henderson horse I think will run well is Irish Roe. She bagged two races at Doncaster before coming second to the highly respected Maria's Benefit at the same track last time out. …

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