1pt each-way Mack The Man @8/1, 1pt each-way Thebannerkingrebel @10/1, 15:35 Newbury, Saturday

2m½f Betfair Hurdle (Handicap) (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Another excellent looking renewal of the Betfair Hurdle which is set to be run on unusually quick conditions for this time of year.

Not So Sleepy looked very impressive on his second start over hurdles when making all at Ascot on heavy going. He was clearly well-in and has been slapped with a 17lbs hike by the handicapper. Not So Sleepy was a classy performer on the flat and a mark of 144 may not be beyond him over hurdles. But, he will need to prove as effective on this ground against much deeper opposition.

The favourite is expected to go out fast in front and that could set it up nicely for a couple that like to race just off the gallop.

MACK THE MAN has looked miles ahead of the handicapper on both his two starts as a second season hurdler, opening his campaign with a simple success off a mark of 115. He defeated the re-opposing Lightly Squeeze, when giving him 5lbs, and he is now 12lbs better off with that rival on account of a light campaign.

Mack The Man then stepped up to Listed company with a fantastic performance at Sandown, travelling strongly into the race to comfortably defeat Protektorat. That horse finished close behind the talented Harry Senior and is now rated in the mid 140’s. The selection gets into this off a mark of 130, and he looks dangerous as he sneaks in here with 10st 3lbs for the Rookers colours.

There is plenty to like about the two McManus runners in Ciel De Neige and Never Adapt, who looks a particularly talented mare. Highly Prized could also go well for Emma Lavelle having converted him from a talented flat performer in the US.

But, seven of the last nine winners of this race did so on their first start in a handicap. THEBANNERKINGREBEL ticks that trend and it coincides with it being the first time in his last five starts that he will not be going into a race starting as favourite having won 3 of those affairs.

He has looked better and better this campaign, but was unlucky last time out in a Grade 2 Novice Hudle when a couple of lengths behind Stolen Silver when giving away 5lbs. Thebannerkingrebel’s now 9lbs better off with that rival having got a bit lonely out in front against him, before getting hampered up the run in.

The return to better ground should suit Thebannerkingrebel who has the speed to sit behind the pace. The Jamie Snowden yard think a lot of him with entries in the Supreme and Champion Hurdle and he is also officially 4lbs well-in.

1pt each-way Mack The Man @8/1, (1-6 places, 1/5 odds with several bookmakers)
1pt each-way Thebannerkingrebel @10/1, 15:35 Newbury, Saturday (1-6 places, 1/5 odds with several bookmakers)

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