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Under The Spotlight: 29th Jan

This week we continue our new feature as we look at one race from the UK and cast our eye over it for you in more detail

And this weeks featured race is:

15.40 Cheltenham

Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Registered As The Classic Novices' Hurdle)

Grade 2 (GBB Race)

How the betting looks

The Verdict

We have a grade 2 hurdle over 2m4f this week as our featured race and the betting is headed by a strong looking favourite in the shape of Hillcrest in the famous Trevor Hemmings colours. He is unbeaten over hurdles including an all important win here over course & distance last time out. He does have an entry at the festival although that will be a lot tougher than this! He will be a short price this weekend but its hard to see past him even carrying top weight for this one

Away from the obvious favourite though Balco Coastal looks a decent sort for trainer Nicky Henderson who is 2 from 2 over hurdles. This represents a step up in both class and trip and he has a fair bit to find on paper for this one, it's always dangerous though to write off a Henderson runner and he could well be there or thereabouts.

North Lodge won at Aintree (at 14/1) beating a couple of previous winners although that was on heavy going that day over 2m. He should stay the extra trip here and could give a good account for trainer Alan King. A Different Kind is another unbeaten over hurdles and he has champion jockey Brian Hughes onboard for trainer Donald McCain, and these two generally make a pretty strong pairing. He could be open to further improvement and priced at 9/1 could be an each way play.

Pincanha steps up in grade and does need to find a bit for this one but could potentially be open to a bit of improvement, at 20/1 there hasn't been a huge amount of support for him so this looks a tough ask. The same could be said of Harper's Brook who is the outsider of the 6 at around 28/1. He does have a decent win at Carlisle to his name over this trip but he looks to have place chances at best.

With only 6 runners for this one we only have 2 places for the each way so it looks difficult to find a solid each way play for the value. For me, this looks to be a favourites race with a possible small punt on the forecast of Hillcrest and A Different Kind to try to find some value

Good Luck

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